WILMINGTON — The county’s Adult Probation Department received a $52,500 grant and will use it to fill an open spot with a supervision staffer who, like others in the office, has a background that includes treating those who are addicted.
“We’re really focused on the treatment side of things, as well as linking them with the appropriate services to keep them engaged,” said Chief Probation Officer Duane Weyand at a Monday appointment with county commissioners.
This orientation toward treatment has occurred over time in response to the large number of local felony cases that are drug-related offenses where the person charged has a substance-use problem.
The Adult Probation Department of the Clinton County Common Pleas Court presently includes two licensed social workers and three other staffers who are either licensed or certificated as chemical dependency counseling professionals.
Weyand told commissioners “the bulk of the people” whom his department supervises have a lot of mental health issues.
In addition to collaborating with local treatment providers, the county’s supervision staff links some of those in their charge to drug-and-alcohol or to mental health residential facilities outside the county for in-patient treatment. That’s because there are no such in-patient facilities here, said Weyand.
Those out-of-county facilities include the Women’s Recovery Center in Xenia, Sojourner Recovery Services in Warren County, The Counseling Center in Portsmouth, Adams Recovery Center in Loveland, and the Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare in Athens which provides inpatient care for acutely mentally ill adults.
Citing a drop in probation violations during the past couple years and a recent five-month streak when no drug court participant tested positive for use, Weyand thinks having a Probation Department that includes some staffers who are trained in the field of treatment is an effective approach.
That means, among other things, “giving people opportunities when they’re having a crisis moment to come straight here,” he said Monday at the courthouse.
Even prior to these latest grant dollars, the Adult Probation Department was 57 percent grant-funded, saving the county General Fund money.
A second year of this most recent grant can be applied for, so potentially it can save the county $105,000 over two years.
During the commissioners meeting, Weyand noted that prior to COVID-19 the supervision staff had begun a “marketing piece,” getting out and talking to groups. It’s best to reach people before they get arrested for a drug offense, he said.
Weyand said they get a lot of phone calls from parents about their sons or daughters, inquiring what resources are available.
Clinton County Commissioners President Mike McCarty said he would love to see more focus on how to start engaging people sooner.
He added it “all starts out at the family unit,” but he also said that when people reach out and can’t get the help they need, then “they get disenfranchised, and then it’s a path that’s just hard to get off.”
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.