Drug court snags grant

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Barry County Drug Court received a welcome monetary boost last week when it was announced that the local program was one of 13 southwest Missouri organizations to receive grants from the Louis and Dorothy Coover Regional Grantmaking Program.

The local drug court received a check for $17,209 during a special reception held on Feb. 3 in Springfield. The grantmaking program is the result of a partnership between Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) and Commerce Trust Company.

"On behalf of the Barry County Drug Court team, we deeply appreciate the support of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and Commerce Trust Company," said Barry County Associate Circuit Court Judge Victor Head. "These funds will enable us to expand our program by increasing the number of participants. It will also allow us to provide additional services to our current participants."

Barry County's high rate of poverty, combined with a high incidence of drug abuse, were key factors in the awarding of grant funds to the local drug court. The money received from the Coover Foundation will allow the program to double the number of participants it serves.

Currently, there are nine participants assigned to Barry County Drug Court, a program that has been operating since May of 2008. Drug court offers an alternative to probation or incarceration.

Through the program, nonviolent offenders charged with a drug or drug-related offense receive intensive treatment for their substance abuse and undergo frequent drug screenings. Each participant is assessed before they enter drug court, and treatment plans are developed with the specific individual in mind. On average, drug court is an 18-month-long process and costs approximately $6,000 per participant.

The 13 grants awarded last week ranged in size from $4,800 to $38,100. Some of the other recipients included the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Association, Lives Under Construction Boys Ranch and the Ozarks Food Harvest.

A total of 36 groups applied for funding through the Louis and Dorothy Coover Regional Grantmaking Program this year, representing more than $1.3 million in total requested funds. The 13 applicants that received funding set themselves apart by addressing causes and consequences of rural poverty.

The Barry County Drug Court is guided by an eight-member team that includes: Judge Head; Barry County Prosecutor Johnnie Cox; Cindy Puryear, drug court coordinator; Nancy Foulke, probation officer; Earl Best, treatment provider; Don Trotter, attorney; Dana Kammerlohr, policing officer; and Lisa Schlichtman, evaluator.

The local drug court has also received grants from the Cassville Community Foundation and the Monett Community Foundation and has organized several fundraisers, including a successful golf tournament this past summer.

"The local community has been very supportive of drug court, and we look forward to continuing this relationship in the future," said Judge Head.

CFO is comprised of 40 affliate community foundations, including Monett's and Cassville's.

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