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Hilliard Recovery Court program receives $496,779 in grant funding

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The City of Hilliard was awarded a federal grant totaling nearly $500,000 through the Department of Justice to expand the City’s Recovery Court services.

The grant allocates $496,779 over three years, allowing Hilliard Recovery Court to increase its number of participants it serves each year, fund a full-time position, and improve participant supervision and testing.

Since the program started in May 2019, Hilliard Recovery Court has offered evidence-based recovery support that follows the recommended guidelines from the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) to 11 people suffering from substance use disorder. With this grant, it will be able to serve up to 60 participants during the next three years.

The recovery court program offers those who face misdemeanor or criminal charges a two-year alternative program to serving jail time. Participating does not add charges to a criminal record and provides the kinds of support needed to help live a life free from substance abuse.

Dawn Steele, Hilliard City Prosecutor, said the success of the first year of recovery court encouraged her to apply for the additional funding.

While the program had to stop taking new participants and focus on online support due to court closing during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is now back in full capacity, offering online services with increased participation.

“This grant will allow us to increase staffing to meet the uptick in substance use that’s occurred during the pandemic,” Steele said.

While Hilliard Recovery Court is the first program of its kind in Hilliard, programs like this are popping up around the state.

“The unique part of Hilliard Recovery Court is that it happens on a local level,” Steele said. “Many of the referrals involve people the police and fire department have known their entire life. Many have been arrested numerous times and the other options for helping them have been expended.”

Treatment involves creating an individualized strategy to help participants gain long-term financial security, housing, valuable community relationships, and recovery support networks that will assist in transitioning away from the program. 

“Programs like this are a critical part of our criminal justice system, as they focus on prevention and rehabilitation, giving participants a better chance at recovery,” said Steele. “Through Hilliard Recovery Court, we can increase the safety of the community and improve the quality of many lives.”

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