County receives grants for Veterans’, Family Recovery courts

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The Star on 7/2/2019 by Kathryn Bassett

AUBURN — DeKalb County has received grant funds totaling $142,579 for the DeKalb County’s Veterans’ Treatment Court and Family Recovery Court programs, the DeKalb County Council heard Monday.

Assistant Chief Probation Officer and Veterans’ Court coordinator Ryan Hull announced the grants and outlined how the funds would be used during Monday’s county council meeting.

The Veterans’ Court program received $69,819 from the Indiana Supreme Court through the Indiana Office of Court Services. Of that, $49,459 will be used for personnel expenses and $20,360 will be used for non-personnel expenses. The grant will run July 1, 2019 to July 1, 2020.

“We are very inspired to have received such a grant and the opportunity to expand our program by 10 veterans, which will raise our capacity to 20 veterans, through the hiring of a new probation officer to assist with the supervision of our participants,” Hull said in a report to the council and DeKalb County Commissioners.

DeKalb County’s new Family Recovery Court program received $72,760 from the Indiana Supreme Court, through the Indiana Office of Court Services. That grant also runs for a year, beginning July 1, 2019. The grant will fund the salary and benefits of a probation officer, as well as incentives, drug screens, participant housing, supplies and graduation.

In March 2018, the DeKalb County Veterans’ Treatment Court began serving veterans of DeKalb County. Led by Judge Kurt B. Grimm of the DeKalb Circuit Court, it offers an alternative to traditional case processing of veterans who are offenders.

The Veterans’ Court allows eligible participants the opportunity to have their charges dismissed, be granted a reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor, or to not have a further sentence imposed by agreeing to complete a substance abuse/mental health treatment program, remain alcohol- and drug-free, meet with a veteran mentor and complete other program requirements as determined by the Veterans’ Court Team.

Participants must complete the Veterans’ Court in its entirety. Those who may be eligible for participation are offenders who served in the armed forces and received an honorable or general discharge, as well as any offender who served in the National Guard or Reserves with service in a foreign war or conflict and received an honorable or general discharge. However, offenders must not have any Level 1 or 2 felonies or Class A felonies on their records. Forcible offenses and current or past sex offenses are not eligible.

DeKalb County’s Family Recovery Court is not yet operational and announced it was in the planning stages in April. A news release issued at that time said this problem-solving court also will be led by Grimm, with the purpose of furthering the successful model of Veterans’ Court in the area of child welfare.

“By using a problem-solving court model, the DeKalb Circuit Court will be able to place addicted parents in a far more intensive program and provide far more treatment services to parents, with the ultimate goal of restoring the family and placing children back in a safe, sober and nurturing environment,” the release said.

DeKalb County Chief Probation Officer Michael Lapham said that while both grants run for one year, he intends to re-apply for them on a continuing basis.