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Lawrence County Public Defender Office Awarded Federal Grant To Reach More Clients
Updated December 19, 2017 8:14 AM
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(BEDFORD) - The Lawrence County Public Defender Agency was recently awarded a federal grant of more than $105,000 for 2018 to continue to provide substance abuse and mental health services to clients.

The grant, about 40 percent larger than a similar award for 2017, will allow the agency to provide services to those clients with misdemeanor charges, as well as juveniles and parents in Child In Need of Service cases.

The additional funding will allow Micki Rushton, Treatment Interventions Case Manager, to work with the agency full time.

The grant also calls for hiring a part time bachelor's-level social worker and a part time administrative assistant. Since his first year as the county's Chief Public Defender, David Shircliff has sought ways to better identify at-risk clients, and to make addiction services and mental health treatment more readily available.

"Fortunately, with financial aid from the Indiana Public Defender Council, we were able to contract with Micki Rushton to begin exploring an avenue for doing that," Shircliff added.

"In the past, this program has primarily included those with either felony convictions or felony charges," said Rushton, who directs the program. "The goal of this new grant is to increase services to other clients, specifically those who may have 'fallen through the cracks' during the screening process."

Through the grant, Rushton will also develop a state-wide model for other counties. The model will include standardized screening instruments, strategies for shepherding clients through barriers in the application and referral processes, record keeping tools, help with grant reporting, a customized database of service providers and modules for training attorneys on Indiana's Recovery Works program.

Since the inception of the Lawrence County program in June 2016, the LCPDA has been able to screen and assess nearly 500 clients, a number that is expected to grow to 700 by year's end. Additionally, 28 sentencing plans were completed, 84 Recovery Works applications were submitted, 69 clients were referred for other treatment and wrap-around services, and technical assistance was provided in 87 cases. Through the existing grant, LCPDA has helped arrange transportation for about 40 clients through TASC tokens and Rural Transit bus passes.

The Lawrence County Public Defender Agency is an independent agency funded by the citizens of Lawrence County, the Indiana Public Defender Commission, and the court-ordered contributions of clients. It seeks to provide each client with high quality legal services, ensure protection of client rights, and maintain dedication to the improvement of the criminal justice system.

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