Funding Change for Juvenile Meth Treatment Program

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By Stephanie Tyrpak

BENTON -- Franklin County officials are celebrating a program that rehabs young drug abusers. The Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center has offered meth treatment to kids for nearly a decade. However, there was a small hiccup with getting this year's funding. 

The meth program gets more than $1 million a year, and makes up about a third of the funding for the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center.
 
This year's cash didn't come in from the Department of Corrections. Program leaders had to follow new steps through the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.
 
The Juvenile Meth Treatment Program started as a dream to help kids and teens struggling through a nightmare. Several years since opening, there's still a waiting list to get in.
 
"The fact that it's a six month residential program, and then another six months of after care, the intensity of that program is proven to be pretty effective," said Director of Court Services Mike Abell. 
 
The young inmates come from more than 40 central and southern Illinois counties, and fill one of eight special spots at the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center.
 
"Juveniles tend to be poly-substance abuse users," said Abell. "They'll use pretty much whatever is available."
 
Director of Court Services Mike Abell had to wait a little longer for the FY2014 treatment funding.
 
In August of last year, Abell found out that the money would come through a different agency. He'd also need to apply for a grant to get the promised $1.2 million. 
 
Franklin County stepped in to cover some of the cost until the cash arrived in April.
 
On Monday morning, county officials and local lawmakers celebrated finally getting the check.
 
"For southern Illinois to have a facility like this, and a treatment option like this, is really a remarkable thing," said Representative John Bradley. 
 
Bradley sponsored the bill that created the pilot program back in 2005. He's thrilled to see the state support it through another year.
 
"You know figuring out ways to make those dollars go," said Abell. "Keep these jobs here, and keep full services going here."
 
Abell has already started on this upcoming year's grants and hopes to get word on that funding in a few weeks.
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