Community Linkage

Community LinkageThe Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) employs Community Linkage Social Worker (CLSW) staff who work with adult offenders in Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) prisons and juvenile offenders at Ohio Department of Youth Services (ODYS) facilities. They provide qualifying offenders with appointments and referrals to support services that promote successful re-integration into the community after discharge, such as housing and health care services.

To promote positive community integration, the CLSWs help qualifying offenders to apply for Social Security benefits and, when appropriate, for Medicaid benefits. OhioMHAS, along with with the Social Security Administration (SSA), developed an expedited process for filing SSA applications. Offenders meeting the criteria for SSA benefits are pre-screened by ODRC staff and referred to CLSWs to help with the application process. Securing these benefits facilitates an offender's return to the community by offering them financial support, and relies on collaboration among the ODRC, ODYS, county alcohol, drug addiction and mental health boards, and community behavioral health providers.