Northampton appoints new director of Community Care

Hampshire County

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Northampton has appointed an implementation director for its new Department of Community Care.

Sean Donovan will lead the creation and implementation of the new department in its mission to support city police when they go to calls related to mental health, substance use, social service related requests and other crisis situations.

Donovan has worked for the advocacy group Wildflower Alliance out of Holyoke since 2012. Since then he has held many roles with the organization – including developing training and curriculum on harm reduction and suicide prevention practices.

Donovan will begin his new role on December 15th.

“I’m excited that we’ve found the right person to lead our effort to rapidly build a Department of Community Care,” said Mayor Narkewicz, “Sean has been deeply involved in our local conversation about community safety and brings the experience, skills, and established relationships necessary to get this critical initiative underway.”

“I am deeply grateful that our city has decided to invest in a new approach to public safety that builds on the wisdom of lived experience and from it explores what life-affirming work and supports can emerge,” said Sean Donovan,  “I’m grateful to have been chosen to lead the effort to build Northampton’s Department of Community Care.”

Mayor Narkewicz’s FY2022 budget adopted by the City Council included $423,955 for a new Department of Community Care and the specific senior-level project coordinator hire being announced today. The city also received an additional $150,000 state budget appropriation secured by Senator Jo Comerford to support this new initiative.

“They are supportive of it, because often times they find themselves getting called repeatedly to a small subset of folks who have very serious issues, but they’re issues that require a different type of response,” said Narkewicz.

Currently, the city plans to establish this new department by Fiscal Year 2022 and plan for it to be operational by Fiscal Year 2023. The Implementation Director will begin work part way through December.

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