“Once you come through the door, you’re family forever.”
— Koren Cappiello, The Brockton Champion Plan
This is not often the message you get when you enter the doors of a police station, but the Champion Plan in Brockton is changing that for a lot of people. This program is a police-assisted recovery program similar to the Gloucester Angel program that helps people with substance use disorder find treatment and support. Since it began in February 2016, over 500 people have been served by a team of police, Champion Plan staff, and recovery coaches. Koren Cappiello has worked with the Brockton Mayor’s Office since 2010. Recently, she has been fortunate to oversee the Champion Plan which is changing the way the police interact with those who need help getting treatment or other support for their substance use disorder. She shared some information with the Helpline about how the program works and its successes so far.
You can find The Champion Plan in the police station in Brockton. This has been less of a barrier than you might think: According to the Brockton Area Prevention Collaborative website,“98% of clients reported feeling the Champion Plan staff treated them with respect and really cared about them.” They have worked hard to ensure that the program is “a safe place to call and to enter” Koren explains. All police officers who work with the project are trained in overdose prevention as well as the complexities of mental health. Some are also trained in the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model of community policing, giving them skills for improved communication and assisting people in crisis. Police and Champion Plan staff welcome and support anyone who is ready to get help for his or her addiction whether they are from Brockton or not. Once someone walks through the door, a certified Recovery Coach assesses immediate needs to identify the best level of treatment. Referrals and connections are made to detox, medication-assisted treatment, outpatient treatment, peer recovery centers, and more.
Champion Plan staff do note that if someone has a warrant, it will need to be cleared first, but that can be done with the support of an officer with the Champion Plan depending on what the warrant is for. The goal is to get someone the treatment they need for their substance use disorder and the program does not want an outstanding warrant to be a barrier.
Whether it’s your first time walking through the door—or your 15th time—you will be welcomed, says Koren. Police and staff are committed to a judgement-free, safe place for anyone to enter. They understand that often it takes multiple tries to get a good hold on your recovery. Once you walk through the door, you become a part of the Champion Plan family—you get referrals, and you also get follow-up. Your recovery coach will continue to re-engage and provide ongoing support for as long as you need, if you want it. Champion Plan staff have made over 3,000 follow-up outreach calls to individuals and family members. They know that staying connected and having a strong support system is critical in preventing overdose and sustaining recovery.
The Champion Plan is working. They have never not been able to find someone a treatment bed. Over 25% of people who have entered the program report at least one year of sobriety. One person who just celebrated a year is becoming a recovery coach. Another person entered the Champion Plan 14 times—and this past Christmas Eve he celebrated 8 months in recovery. “There is nothing better than hearing someone who was really suffering say, ‘You really did save my life,’” shares Koren. The first step is always up to the person to walk through the door. Once they do though, the Champion Plan team is there to guide them to and on their path of recovery.
The Champion Plan hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 am – 4:30 pm, Friday from 9 am – 7:30 pm, and Saturday from 9 am – 2:30 pm. Find more information here.
Thank you to Koren Cappiello, Director of Social Services, City Of Brockton, for talking with The Helpline for this blog!