RD291 - Abbreviated State Plan for the Implementation of the Marcus-David Peters Act – July 1, 2021

Executive Summary:

The Marcus-David Peters Act (HB 5043 and SB5038) is named in honor of Marcus-David Peters, a young, Black, biology teacher and VCU graduate who was fatally shot by Richmond Police in 2018 in the midst of a behavioral health crisis. It was introduced by Senator McPike and Delegate Bourne, and was signed into law in November 2020 by Governor Ralph Northam. The Act modifies the Code of Virginia to add § 9.1-193 “Mental health awareness response and community understanding services (Marcus) alert system, law-enforcement protocols", which outlines the role of the Department of Criminal Justice (DCJS) and local law enforcement in the development of three protocols for behavioral health crisis situations; sets seventeen goals for law enforcement participation in the Marcus Alert system; assigns purview between DCJS and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS); and requires localities to develop a voluntary database. The Act also modifies the Code of Virginia to add § 37.2-311.1 “Comprehensive crisis system, Marcus alert system, powers and duties of the Department related to comprehensive mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disability crisis services." This requires DBHDS to develop a comprehensive crisis system based on national best practice models composed of a crisis call center, community care and mobile crisis teams, crisis stabilization centers, and the Marcus Alert system. It also requires DBHDS, in collaboration with DCJS and a range of stakeholders, to develop a written plan for the development of the Marcus Alert system, which is represented in this document.

The state implementation plan is the result of a collaborative process between DBHDS, DCJS, other state agency partners, and the Marcus Alert State Planning Stakeholder Group (heretoafter referred to as “the workgroup"). A full list of workgroup members is available in Appendix A. In total, the group was comprised of 45 stakeholders from across Virginia, representing local governments, non-profits, private and community providers, individuals with lived experience, and advocates. Each stakeholder represented different perspectives in the areas of mental health, substance use disorder, developmental disabilities, law enforcement, developmental disabilities, and social justice and racial equity.

The state plan includes four sections. The first section provides background on Virginia’s behavioral health crisis system, a summary of the planning group and process, and a current landscape analysis. The landscape analysis includes, as required, a catalog of existing CIT programs, crisis stabilization programs, cooperative agreements between law enforcement and behavioral health, a review of the prevalence and estimates of crisis situations across Virginia, and current funding for crisis and emergency services. The second section describes components of the implementation plan that are statewide (including the comprehensive crisis system as well as statewide aspects of the Marcus Alert system). It also includes a four-level framework for categorizing crisis situations, regional coverage by STEP-VA mobile crisis teams and associated Medicaid rates, 988/regional call centers, a statewide Equity at Intercept 0 Initiative, and statewide training standards. The third section describes the requirements for localities to implement their local Marcus Alert systems, which include the local planning process, minimum standards and best practices for local law enforcement involvement in the Marcus Alert system, descriptions of different ways to achieve local community coverage, and the system for review and approval of protocols. Finally, the fourth section provides frameworks for accountability and responsibility across state and local entities and how the success of the implementation will be assessed.