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Health and Family Services Cabinet
State funds drug-treatment partnership in Barren County; $275,000 project to serve parents with substance abuse addiction

Press Release Date:  Thursday, October 18, 2007  
Contact Information:  Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6180 or Vikki Franklin, (502) 564-7042  

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 18, 2007) – The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) today announced $275,000 in funding for a substance abuse treatment referral project in Barren County.

The funding is part of CHFS’ Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Team (START) initiative, which focuses on early intervention in families who are at higher risk of child abuse and neglect due to a parent’s alcohol or drug addiction.

“START focuses on assisting parents overcome their addictions and build healthier families,” said CHFS Deputy Secretary Tom Emberton Jr. “With this funding, we can ensure that families who need it most have immediate access to effective clinical assessment and treatment.”

The funding will go toward treatment services at LifeSkills, Inc.’s intensive outpatient facility in Glasgow and its residential treatment facility in Bowling Green. DCBS social workers who counsel families involved in child protective services cases will refer parents to the program, who pay nothing for the service.

LifeSkills began accepting clients through the partnership in September.

Karen Garrity, clinical director of Substance Abuse Services for LifeSkills, said the partnership will relieve a burden in the community for treating families in crisis.

“With an increase in staff, we can increase our capacity.” Garrity said.

Garrity said the funding will be used for staff and related support services. The center is seeking another therapist and has already hired a service coordinator to assist with clients’ treatment and basic needs, like scheduling payments for late utility bills.

One of the benefits of the partnership is that it increases communication between LifeSkills and DCBS, Garrity said.

“It will greatly improve our relationship,” she said. “We will have regular meetings in which all the START team talks to one another. It makes it less likely that a client would fall behind in or drop out of treatment.”

The cabinet is also funding similar partnerships in other counties across the state as part of its Partners in Prevention initiative, which is focused on increasing capacity to serve Kentucky’s most vulnerable families through early intervention services.

The START treatment program is one of many partnerships launched between DCBS and Barren County providers in the past year and a half. DCBS has invested more than $600,000 for substance abuse treatment services, DCBS case management, child care for families with substance abuse issues and an after-school program for at-risk youth.

This summer, $75,000 in state funding helped launch an after-school project to help at-risk teens and pre-teens in Barren County. The Youth Promise Program for teens, which includes the “Smart Moves” research-based program, began this fall at the Boys and Girls Club of Glasgow/Barren County. The club will receive $75,000 for its teen after-school efforts.

CHFS also recently awarded a $100,000 grant to a Barren County initiative for primary and secondary prevention activities targeted at at-risk families.

CHFS and the University of Kentucky’s Targeted Assessment Project (TAP), part of the school’s Center on Drug and Alcohol Research coordinate the START project.

Emberton said Kentucky’s START program was created partly in response to the state’s growing number of children in out of home care and the negative impact of parents’ chemical dependency. About 80 percent of the children in Kentucky’s foster care system have parents with substance abuse addictions. Many of the families return to the system after their initial referral, often due to diminished treatment capacity and scarce resources.

Kentucky’s START initiative is based on a Cleveland program that resulted in a 70 percent reduction in the number of children who returned to foster care after their first foster care placement. With an estimated savings per child of almost $50,000, the 10-year-old program has diverted an estimated $350 million in taxpayer money traditionally born by the Medicaid program for drug-affected newborns.

“START strengthens community partnerships and enhances targeted services for clients,” Emberton said. “When local providers can administer the needed treatment in a timely way, it improves the chances of children staying home with families, where they belong.”

For more information about START, log on to Learn about LifeSkills online at

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Last Updated 10/18/2007