Perry County Drug Court awarded $1.3 million

Federal grant to help participants succeed in Drug Court, get education and employment

Staff Report

FRANKFORT – The Perry County Adult Drug Court program has been awarded a $1.3 million federal grant to help participants who are the most difficult to treat and have the fewest resources to successfully complete the program and obtain education and work. The program began using the funds in January.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance jointly awarded the program the grant to expand treatment services, including counseling and job coaching, and assist participants with education expenses, housing, transportation, child care and other needs. The funds are to help participants who struggle with employment issues, suffer with mental health problems and/or lack basic education.

“I am excited to have additional funding to provide even more services to the Drug Court participants and make the program available to more people who need it,” said Perry County Circuit Court Judge Alison C. Wells, who volunteers her time to serve as the Drug Court judge. “By helping participants with important life needs, we allow them to focus on their recovery.”

Under the grant, the Drug Court program will use the Assertive Community Treatment Model, which is designed to enhance the chances of success for participants who need assistance beyond traditional treatment. The model calls for increased case management and a multidisciplinary team approach.

A portion of the grant is being used for Kentucky River Community Care to employ a substance abuse counselor, peer recovery specialist and case manager to work exclusively with Drug Court participants. The counselor’s duties include providing counseling and enhanced treatment for individuals and groups of participants. The peer recovery specialist and case manager conduct home and jail visits, lead mentoring groups and offer job coaching and transportation. The peer recovery specialist also offers participants moral support and the case manager works with Drug Court staff to oversee participant’s cases.

SAMHSA’s portion of the joint grant covers the enhanced treatment and is $325,000 a year for three years for a total of $975,000. BJA is providing $400,000 for wrap-around services, such as assistance with education expenses, housing, transportation, child care and other needs. The funds are for use over a three-year period.

“I am very pleased that we have received this additional funding to enhance and expand our program,” said Sheena Falter, program supervisor for the Perry County Drug Court program. “Many of our participants come into the program lacking the basic human necessities – housing, clothing, food and transportation. With the grant, we can assist them in meeting those needs and offer more treatment options to help them build a strong foundation for their recovery.”

Kentucky Drug Court programs are funded with state money approved by the Kentucky General Assembly. State funds are for treatment, drug testing, home visits and other services but do not cover wrap-around services like transportation and clothing.

“I’m proud of the Drug Court team in Perry County for the hard work it has done,” said Connie Payne, who oversees Drug Court and other specialty courts for the state court system. “I look forward to seeing the funding help participants who need it the most succeed long term.”

In addition to Judge Wells, Falter and Drug Court case specialist Gracie Dillon, the Perry County Drug Court team members are Perry County Sheriff Les Burgett, Lt. James East of the Hazard Police Department, Kentucky State Police Trooper Isaac Whitaker, probation officers Jason Turner and Megan Simms, attorney Cody Goehring of the state Department of Public Advocacy, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Eckert, Judy Cattoi of KRCC, and Alison Williams and Layla Fugate of the Little Flower Clinic.

The staff KRCC has hired under the grant are substance abuse counselor Leslie Craft and peer recovery specialist Amber Gibbs. The agency is working on hiring the case manager.

There are 47 participants in the Perry County Drug Court program. Since it began in March 2005, 104 participants have graduated from the program. Participants have paid more than $65,000 in child support and more than $96,000 in other court obligations, such as restitution and fines, while in the program. Participants have completed more than 150,000 hours of community service. Seventeen drug-free babies have been born to Perry County participants.

Federal grant to help participants succeed in Drug Court, get education and employment

Staff Report

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