April 7, 2003
APRIL IS CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH * NATIONAL DRUG TREATMENT COURT MONTH *ALCOHOL AWARENESS MONTH
COLLABORATIVE HELPING FAMILIES AFFECTED BY SUBSTANCE ABUSE RECEIVES AWARD
Charlotte, NC -- Nearly five months into a program created to help families deal with substance abuse issues that have put their children at risk of neglect or abuse, supporters of the effort say they are pleased with early indicators.
Families In Recovery to Stay Together, or the F.I.R.S.T. program, is a collaboration of Mecklenburg County Courts, the Youth and Family Services Division of the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, and Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health Authority.
F.I.R.S.T. will be recognized by the Chemical Dependency Center of Charlotte Mecklenburg (CDC) as the recipient of its Pioneer Award at the organization's annual luncheon on April 10, at the Adams Mark Hotel. The Pioneer Award was established in 1994 and is designed to honor new and innovative programs in the field of substance abuse prevention, education, and/or treatment. The CDC staff nominates and selects the recipient.
"The FIRST Program is an excellent example of the collaborative effort going on in this community that supports persons who suffer from addictive disease to get into and move forward in recovery,'' said Larry Snider, CDC executive director. "Providing services that contribute to parents being reunified with their children is a very progressive step in the human service field, and the F.I.R.S.T. Program is honored for being a leader in this direction."
The F.I.R.S.T. Program began Dec. 1, 2002, and has exceeded targeted numbers for the first five months, program administrators say. The program has assessed 58 clients. The residential portion of the program is full and has a waiting list. Also, more parents have volunteered to take part in the program and get started rather than wait for the court to mandate their participation.
Parents or legal guardians who are determined by the Court to be abusive and/or neglectful will participate in the program. They must participate in screening and assessments for substance abuse, mental health, and domestic violence issues. Participants must comply with treatment recommendations after screening assessments, remain substance free and submit to regular and random urinalyses.
A grant from the Governor's Crime Commission allowed the Mecklenburg County Family Drug Treatment Court (FDTC) program to expand and include the F.I.R.S.T. Program. The FDTC is part of the larger Mecklenburg County Drug Treatment Court Program that was created in 1995.