DeKalb Co. Drug Court receives grant to add 3 positions

By Jessica Wells

The DeKalb County Drug Court recently received a federal grant which will be used to add new positions to its staff.

Marilyn Stromborg, DeKalb County Drug Court Coordinator, said the $200,000 grant from the Department of Justice will start Oct. 1 and will be used to add three new positions.

“One will be a research assistant who will work with our outside evaluator in terms of comparing drug court participants with a control group to measure the differences,” Stromborg said. “One is a counselor who will be the drug court counselor over at Ben Gordon. The third person will be an outreach coordinator who will work with people that have graduated from drug court.”

Stromborg said drug court participants are already being sent to the Ben Gordon Center for intensive outpatient therapy. The new counselor position will allow drug court participants to have someone who is constantly available.

“This grant will allow the drug court to partner with the Ben Gordon Center for one full time masters level counselor,” said Mike Flora, CEO of the Ben Gordon Center. “They will be solely responsible for working individually and in groups and providing case management, emergency services, home visits, those sort of things for drug court participants.”

Flora said the person who fills this full time position will have the opportunity to work with Ben Gordon’s emergency services team and will be available for drug court 100 percent of the time. This position will be in addition to the services already offered by the Ben Gordon Center to drug court participants.

“We provide a great deal of the intensive outpatient and group services as well as individual treatment and assessment of drug court participants,” Flora said.

County Administrator Ray Bockman said the drug court program is already effective, but this will help with their success.

“I think the drug court program will be strengthened greatly by the addition of a dedicated addictions therapist who will also assist with case management,” Bockman said.

Stromborg said the court has recognized the need for an after-care coordinator for a long time.

“When [participants] graduate drug court, it’s sort of like they go from a lot of support and a lot of structure to nothing,” Stromborg said. “That person will be a nice bridge going from drug court out to the community.”

Bockman said the addition of a research assistant will also add to the services offered for drug court.

“One of the improvements will be adding an outcome evaluation component,” Bockman said. “This drug court already has a fairly robust data collection effort in place but this addition will only make it stronger.”

Stromborg said she’s delighted to have received this grant, especially because it was competitively chosen.

“It just shows that doing all that hard work pays off,” Stromborg said.