Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Announces Funding for Jefferson County Family Drug Court

Press Release Date:  Friday, August 18, 2006  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

DCBS, AOC work collaboratively to secure program

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Department for Community Based Services and the Administrative Office of the Courts are working together to secure funding for the Jefferson County Family Drug Court, which faced closure after exhausting grant money that was used to operate the court.

“Family drug courts give us insight into the nature of substance abuse and its impact on families, and they enable our protective services workers to better serve their clients,” said Governor Fletcher. “It is truly a worthy and successful program, and thanks to this additional funding, it will continue.”

DCBS Commissioner Tom Emberton Jr. said at least $287,000 of DCBS funds will be used to operate the court, which has been integral in the department’s work to reunite families, for one year. AOC will supply the additional operating funds to run the court through 2008, at which time the agency will be fully absorbed by the AOC.

“DCBS is focused on developing community partners that will help us accomplish our mission of reuniting families and returning children to safe and loving environments. The Jefferson County Drug Court has played a key role in helping us accomplish this goal,” said Emberton. “We’re extremely grateful to Chief Justice Joseph Lambert and Justice William E. McAnulty Jr. for their overwhelming support and response to solving this problem. This has truly been a collaborative effort.”

Founded in 1993, the Jefferson County Family Drug Court is the first of three such agencies in Kentucky. The court is focused on rehabilitation and reuniting families who have been impacted by substance abuse.

Through the court, parents can be reunited with children if they complete counseling, parenting classes and drug and alcohol treatment programs.

“Family Drug Court is a vital part of our efforts to reunite families and eliminate a major cause of family destruction,” said Chief Justice Lambert. “I am grateful to Governor Fletcher, CHFS Secretary Mark Birdwhistell and Commissioner Emberton for their support."

With additional funding from DCBS and AOC, the court will experience no lapse in service.

“Eighty percent of children in foster care are affected by substance abuse,” said Emberton. “The Fletcher administration has been focused on finding the best avenues to help these children and restore families. This is one more example of the administration’s dedication to helping families.”

The decision to provide additional funding for the family drug court brought praise from Jefferson County Social Worker Sky Tanghe, a strong advocate for the program.

“Through Family Drug Court, parents learn how to live sober each day and begin to see themselves and their children in a way they never had in the past,” said Tanghe. “I have watched parents who initially never believed they could live any other way than on drugs; however, Family Drug Court offered them the support, encouragement and direction they needed and deserved in order to be healthy, productive citizens, and most important, caring and safe parents.”

Emberton added that the joint effort of DCBS and the AOC to secure money for the family drug court better positions the agencies in their work to launch a new pilot project in Jefferson County. Further details about the project, designed to provide early intervention services for families who have been affected by substance abuse, will be announced in upcoming weeks.