Community corrections receiving Lilly funding

Herald file photo by Sarah Ann Jump
Dubois County Community Corrections is receiving $499,319 from the $4.4 million Community Leadership Grant the Dubois County Community Foundation was awarded from Lilly Endowment through the seventh phase of Lilly’s Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow initiative.

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

Dubois County Community Corrections will use almost $500,000 over five years to fund staff and programs that help corrections participants deal with addictions and teach them how to make better life choices.

Community corrections is receiving $499,319 from the $4.4 million Community Leadership Grant the Dubois County Community Foundation was awarded from Lilly Endowment through the seventh phase of Lilly’s Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow initiative.

But to use it, the county must be willing to allocate it to community corrections. And county officials must also be willing to help with the costs covered by the grant in future years.

“The community foundation really wants to see a sustainability plan in place,” Megan Durlauf, director of community corrections, said Thursday.

The Dubois County Council consented at its Monday meeting to advertising for the first year’s allocation of $151,574. The appropriation will be considered for approval at the council’s February meeting.

The grant money will fund a case manager and treatment program facilitator, contracted behavioral services like cognitive behavioral classes, training, and workbooks and other materials for those participating in the different treatment and behavioral programs. The costs for these used to be covered by a TANF grant community corrections received from the state. But the state stopped issuing those grants in 2019, with the last of the funding being used last year.

Durlauf talked to the council about the appropriation as well as how the county could handle the costs in future years.

“I proposed to the county a budget,” she said, “where in year one, the Lilly grant pays for everything. And then in year two, the county starts to pick up the insurance for those positions. And then in year three, the county starts to pick up a little bit more.”

She also proposed the county using revenue from the corrections and rehabilitative tax to cover those costs.

“And so we would stair step the funding down from the Lilly grant and stair step the funding up from the county,” Durlauf said. “in the hopes of using the corrections and rehabilitative tax.”

The corrections and rehabilitative tax was implemented to cover most of the costs for expanding and updating the security center and community corrections as well as to help cover costs for other aspects of the system, including treatment services for those in the system and possible updates in other criminal justice departments. Council officials have said that they wanted revenue to go to costs for treatment and programs, not just to constructing and expanding buildings.

Council members sounded favorable to the idea. But they cannot fully commit to funding for future budgets, Council President Mike Kluesner explained Thursday.

“I think the money will be there, hopefully. I have a comfort level that it will be there,” he said. “But we can’t make anything official until we budget each year. We can’t budget four or five years in advance.”

Budgets are established one year at a time. For instance, for the 2021 budget, the council agreed to cover building maintenance and utilities costs for community corrections, which is something the county hadn’t done before, Kluesner said.

As the community corrections and security center buildings are expanded and updated, there will be other costs for maintaining the facilities, Kluesner said.

“We’re going to have upkeep costs on a lot more building space. And we may need to add staff in the future,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve thought completely through all that; we need to do more planning. But I think this [community corrections proposal] is the initial start of that.”

But paying for treatment and programming expenses “is part of what the C&R tax was for,” Kluesner said, to help with those costs.”

The $4.4 million grant from Lilly will support a multi-faceted initiative to improve access to services that address mental health and substance abuse disorders in Dubois County and the surrounding region.

The Dubois County Community Foundation received the full grant payout last year and is beginning to disperse the funding this year to community partners, such as Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center, LifeSpring Health Systems, Dubois County CARES, Next Step Recovery Home and Dubois County Community Corrections.




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