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Sobriety and Family Are Focus of New Federal Grants
Half a year ago Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller made public his request for increased funding for drug treatment. Saturday, thanks to the federal government, at least a portion of his wishes will be coming true.
A new federal grant will help the Iowa Judicial Branch fund three new family drug courts and expand two existing courts. Family drug courts emphasize treatment for drug-addicted parents in hopes of keeping family units in tact. The project ensures that children have immediate access to services while parents are in family drug court. Also, parents continue to receive support and monitoring once treatment is complete.
In February when Miller outlined a three-prong approach of enforcement, treatment and prevention as the ideal in the fight against drugs in Iowa, he said “the number one thing we can do to fight crime is fight drugs and the number one thing we can do to fight drugs is to do a better job with drug treatment.”
In his plan, he suggested an additional $3 million was needed for expansion of drug courts to each of Iowa’s eight judicial districts.
“Drug court programs especially tailored to the specific needs of families, juveniles and adults in local communities have shown success in Iowa,” he said. “Because these programs are proving their effectiveness, the state should ensure their continuation and expansion. Drug courts are effective because the combine the authority of the court with the effectiveness of drug treatment. The court ensures that there is a strong incentive for clients to complete treatment and stay clean. Defendants hear the message that failure to comply will result in sanctions.”
The family drug court model created in Des Moines by Judge Karla Fultz maintains a 75 percent success rate in family reunification and sobriety.
This Saturday Joan Ohl, commissioner of the Administration for Children, Youth and Families, will present a grant of $500,000 per year for five years to Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus. The judicial branch will work with the Iowa Department of Human Services, the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Office of Drug Control Policy to implement the family drug court program in seven Iowa counties. Representatives from the offices of Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Tom Harkin are expect to attend the ceremony along with state officials.
The grant will fund “Parents and Children Together: A Family Drug Court Initiative” in Wapello, Polk, Linn, Scott, Woodbury, Cherokee and Ida counties. The program will focus on the welfare of children with parents who have substance abuse problems, specifically, methamphetamine addiction.
Ohl will also present a similar grant to Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc., a regional partnership formed by nine rural northwest Iowa counties. The partnership will use the grant to allow child welfare, substance abuse and community support services to increase access, availability and outreach programs. The services will provide assistance to children who are in out-of-home or at-risk of placement as the result of a caretaker’s substance abuse.