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Gov. Blagojevich announces $1.5 million in new funding to help parents with meth addictions in Southern Illinois

DCFS initiative to treat parents, help preserve families

SPRINGFIELD, IL (October 16, 2006) - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $1.5 million in federal funding that will be used to develop a treatment program for parents in Southern Illinois who are at risk of losing custody of their children while they struggle with meth addiction.

"Methamphetamines and other illegal drugs destroy families and entire communities. This funding will help Southern Illinois communities get at-risk parents the help they need to fight drug addiction and become successful and committed parents," the Governor said.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has been awarded a competitive grant by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (SAMHSA-CSAT) for the treatment of adult users of methamphetamine, who are also involved with DCFS.

DCFS will receive $500,000 per year for a period of three years to work with the not for profit agency Franklin-Williamson Human Services, Inc. (FWHS) to expand the outpatient capacity to treat adult meth users who reside in Franklin, Jackson, Saline and Williamson counties, all located in rural Southern Illinois.

The initiative, known as the Southern Illinois Methamphetamine Project (SIMAP), will serve parents who have open cases with DCFS, helping to both treat users and strengthen and preserve their families. Southern Illinois University - Carbondale has joined the initiative to provide rigorous program evaluation.

Over the course of the program's three years, over 250 meth users will receive treatment, including a projected total of approximately 8,500 outpatient counseling sessions. The innovative program includes use of the Matrix Model, a clinical approach proven to be effective with meth users. DCFS will provide additional services to support treatment of these adults, while also building their capacity to safely parent children; DCFS will provide parenting training, special staffing to monitor compliance with both meth treatment and family preservation plans, and outreach home visits to assess and monitor parent-child interactions. Linkage agreements with other community-based social service providers help ensure that these families receive the full range of supports available.

"This partnership enables us to refer parents struggling with meth in these communities to state-of-the-art treatment," said DCFS Director Bryan Samuels. "DCFS can then concentrate on helping to strengthen and preserve these families."

Franklin-Williamson Human Services, Inc., which will provide treatment services through the partnership, is a respected, community-based social services provider with 36 years of experience in serving southern Illinois. The agency provides a wide range of services to people with mental, emotional, behavioral, family, developmental and substance abuse issues, helping them prevent problems, acquire new skills, develop abilities and make successful adjustments to community life.

"Providing treatment to this population, through a proven, evidence-based approach, helps these clients become independent, productive citizens, supporting their families and contributing to our communities in a positive way," said Wendy Bailie, Substance Abuse Services Director for Franklin-Williamson Human Services, Inc. "We are excited to be involved in this joint effort with DCFS and SAMHSA."

Southern Illinois University - Carbondale, led by Dr. Shane Koch, has joined SIMAP to develop, implement and support program performance and data collection instruments, in order to provide the partnership with regular outcome evaluations. This rigorous evaluation will help the partnership continually improve its performance, while it also provides analysis to guide future interventions.

The SIMAP initiative is part of DCFS' ongoing efforts to address the impact of meth on parents, families and children. The Department has worked closely with other agencies and departments that have contact with meth-affected families, and established an Interagency Operational Agreement with the Illinois State Police (ISP) to coordinate responses in cases where children are found in homes where meth is being manufactured. Protocols for these cases now prescribe how medical care is provided for children in these families, as well as how educational needs of these children are met, in cooperation with the Illinois State Board of Education. Joint training of DCFS and ISP staff is currently being implemented, and DCFS has contracted with Prevent Child Abuse Illinois to provide meth awareness training to organizations and communities statewide. DCFS has also funded a pilot meth treatment program in the Danville area.

Since 2003, Gov. Blagojevich has taken several actions to make it harder for meth producers to obtain ingredients, and to stiffen penalties for manufacturers, dealers and users.

The Governor recently announced more than $5.3 million in federal funding that will be used to help fight the production, distribution, and use of methamphetamines and other illicit drugs, by helping narcotics and prosecution units step up their enforcement efforts in 66 Illinois counties. Additionally, the Governor announced a new database developed by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) that will help the State eliminate existing gaps in the information network that records the growing methamphetamine problem in the U.S. The database will be ready for use early next year.

Last June, the Governor announced that in their first year of operation, the Illinois State Police's six Meth Response Teams (MRT's) handled a total of 750 meth related incidents, made 653 arrests and seized nearly 213,000 grams of drugs and materials related to the production of meth. The Governor created the MRT's last year as part of the state's ongoing effort to combat the proliferation of one of the fastest-growing and most dangerous illegal drug trades in Illinois.

Additionally, the Governor has signed several meth related bills into law, including the "Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act", one of the most significant anti-methamphetamine statutes enacted to address meth. Senate Bill 273 created and designated pseudo ephedrine as a Schedule V substance. The bill was signed by Governor Blagojevich in November 2005 and became effective on January 15, 2006. The new law restricts the retail sale of pseudo ephedrine-containing products to pharmacists or pharmacist technicians only, and requires purchasers of pseudo ephedrine-containing products to show identification and sign a log.

Other significant meth related bills signed by the Governor include legislation:

  • Establishing a statewide methamphetamine offender registry in Illinois for people convicted under the "Participation in Methamphetamine Manufacturing" statute. The bill requires the ISP to establish, maintain, and publish (via the Internet) the registry, tracking reversals of convictions and court orders requiring the sealing or expungement of records relating to the reportable offenses.
  • Creating the new offense of meth trafficking for individuals who knowingly bring methamphetamine or its precursors or cause methamphetamine or its precursors to be brought into Illinois with the intent to make, deliver, or sell meth. The new law will help prevent meth manufacturers from trying to get around Illinois' tough restrictions on access to pseudo ephedrine by going to other states for meth ingredients.
  • Authorizing the establisment of an anhydrous ammonia security grant program by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The grant will create a pilot program with goal of increasing security measures around anhydrous ammonia facilities by encouraging the industry to utilize industry approved ammonia additives, install tank locking devices security systems to prevent the theft of anhydrous ammonia for the illegal manufacture of meth.
  • Setting up the Methamphetamine Law Enforcement Fund, which assesses a $100 fine on top of other fines and sentences for anyone found guilty of a drug related offense involving possession or delivery of meth.

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Kendall Marlowe, DCFS
Delores Robinson, DCFS 312-814-6847

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