Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Announces Nearly $1 Million in Grants for Drug Treatment Services

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, October 24, 2006  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Funding will help families at risk for child abuse in nine communities

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) have announced that nearly $1 million in state and matching grants will be given to nine communities across the state for substance abuse services and early intervention programs.

The funding is for the Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Team or START project, which will heighten awareness of the effects and dangers of substance abuse and its relationship to child abuse. The $800,000 in state funding comes from the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), the cabinet’s child welfare and family services agency.

The grant specifically provides in-home services for families at risk due to substance abuse and early intervention case management from local providers.

Governor Fletcher announced the program in Louisville today, where a check for $175,000 was presented to Louisville Metro government officials and community partners for their city’s START program. Metro United Way also presented a $75,000 matching grant.

Jefferson County also received $50,000 of another $250,000 in state funds earmarked for child care services for families coping with substance abuse recovery.

Governor Fletcher praised the project and said community leaders will use the grants to help change the lives of children across the commonwealth.

“The best place for a child to grow is at home,” Governor Fletcher said. “But so many homes are in danger of becoming unsafe because of a parent’s addiction. This initiative gives local providers the ability to intervene and administer treatment services so the children can stay where they belong and the family can grow together.” 

Planning frequent visits between parents and children removed from their homes is one of the basic tenets of the START model. In Jefferson County, the state is giving a total of $35,000 in grants to Midwest Church of Christ and Peace Presbyterian Church, which provide supervised visitation programs for families separated because of open protection and permanency cases within the DCBS. Through a partnership with Dare to Care, the churches provide a meal for the family to share together in a community setting that is natural and family friendly.

CHFS Secretary Mark Birdwhistell said the initiative shows his cabinet staff is “thinking outside the box.”

“Substance abuse is the mitigating factor for the majority of families we serve,” he said. “Instead of just becoming involved after drug abuse has ripped families apart, we want to enable them to find the help they need to stay together, safely.

“With our community partners, we will collaborate to address the issues associated with addiction and its detrimental effects on parents and children,” Birdwhistell said.

DCBS Commissioner Tom Emberton Jr. said START involves building strong partnerships with community providers to help parents. The program’s goals are to reduce the rate of children’s re-entry into foster care and the number of chemically dependent parents.

Emberton said more than 80 percent of children removed from their homes and placed in state care are from families with substance abuse problems.

“Beyond protecting children who are already affected, we want to reduce the factors that put kids at risk for being removed from an unsafe home,” Emberton said.  Nearly 7,000 children are in foster care in Kentucky, he said. 

Prevention services will include parent education classes open to anyone in the community and family support programs. Activities will be targeted at families that have one or more risk factors including substance abuse, teen parents, parents of special needs children, single parents and low-income households.

Secondary prevention services include parent education classes targeted for high-risk parents, respite care for parents of a child with a disability or home visiting programs for new parents.

Support teams for the addicted men and women participating in the START program will include a child welfare supervisor, a child welfare worker and a parent advocate who is in recovery for his or her own addiction.

“The parent advocates will be integral to this program’s success,” Emberton said. “They will serve as role models for our clients and best be able to assess their progress.”

Emberton said the START program will be patterned after a nationally recognized model that was launched in Cleveland and is endorsed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Communities were selected because of their need for enhanced drug prevention services and because most already have other resources in place, he said.

Jefferson County’s Family Drug Court is a prime example of one very successful resource, Emberton said. That’s why the department is funding the program with $387,000 for the next two years after the drug court was left out of the state’s 2006-08 budget.

“For four years, the Jefferson County Drug Court has helped Louisville parents get sober to make a real family life for their children,” Emberton said. “We hope the START initiative can complement community efforts like drug court to preserve and reunite families.”

In Jefferson County, services will be provided to families in the communities where they live and through the collaborative Neighborhood Place service delivery system. The START model will build on the successes of the “one-stop” Neighborhood Place network and its partnerships with agencies like the Jefferson Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center and the Louisville Metro Health Department.

Emberton said the START pilot marks the inception of the department’s stronger approach toward enhancing the prevention-related resources that target child safety, family preservation and reunification.

“Substance abuse has ill effects on every area of family life and the state often pays to remedy those issues,” Emberton said. “The department believes prevention and early intervention programs like these that require more funding on the ‘front-end’ with families may prevent long stays or repeat placements in foster care, which are more costly on many levels.”

Nine Kentucky communities will get a total of $800,000 in DCBS grants for the START program. Matching grants from community nonprofit agencies total $125,000. Several counties also will receive child care assistance grants to help families in treatment.

The following is a list of counties and the funding they will receive:

Barren County

  • $100,000 for the START program
  • $25,000 for child care assistance

Boyd County

  • $50,000 for the START program
  • $30,000 for child care assistance

Fayette County

  • $100,000 for the START program
  • $40,000 for child care assistance

Jefferson County

  • $175,000 for the START program
  • $75,000 matching United Way funds
  • $50,000 for child care assistance
  • $25,000 to Midwest Church of Christ
  • $10,000 to Peace Presbyterian Church for supervised visitation programs

Kenton County

  • $75,000 for the START program
  • $25,000 in Child Care funds

Lake Cumberland Region (Adair, Casey, Clinton, Cumberland, Green, McCreary, Pulaski, Russell, Taylor and Wayne counties)

  • $150,000 for the START program
  • $50,000 matching Community Action Council funds
  • $30,000 for child care assistance

Magoffin County

  • $50,000 for the START program
  • $20,000 for child care assistance

McCracken County

  • $50,000 for the START program
  • $30,000 for child care assistance

Metcalfe County

  • $50,000 for the START program