Hardin County Convenes Local Leaders at Annual Stakeholder Meeting

Last week, Hardin County Juvenile Court convened its annual stakeholders meeting, gathering leaders from local businesses, churches and agencies to share progress on Reclaiming Futures’ impact through new data, and insight into the future of the program.

Randy Muck, Senior Advisor of Advocates for Youth and Family Behavioral Health, speaks at the Hardin County Juvenile Court stakeholder meeting Randy Muck, Senior Advisor of Advocates for Youth and Family Behavioral Health, speaks at the Hardin County Juvenile Court stakeholder meeting.

Judge Steven Christopher shared results from Hardin County’s participation in a statewide pilot program to study medically assisted treatment for opiate abuse. He noted positive results. Of the 69 percent of people in his family treatment court, zero percent relapsed or experienced recidivism.

Progress like this is being recognized nationally, and according to The Ada Herald, one of Hardin County’s local newspapers, Reclaiming Futures in Hardin County is considered a “‘best practice model’ teen drug court” due to its cutting edge program.

Speakers at the meeting also reported on the progress of Hardin Community School, a state-chartered public school or “community school” for educationally at-risk junior and senior high students. This “recovery high school” is a first in Ohio, and is uniquely suited to foster the success of students in drug and alcohol recovery. The school was implemented with assistance from The Ohio Department of Education and National Association of Recovery Schools.

Hardin County also maintains a close partnership with Ohio Northern University (ONU) for data evaluation and mentorships, which was also highlighted at the stakeholder meeting. ONU’s sociologist Dr. Keith Durkin shared new Global Appraisal for Individual Needs (GAIN) data that illustrated the social, psychological and behavioral indicators of at-risk teens. According to The Ada Herald:

“An analysis of the GAIN data provided information on substance abuse, criminal offending; psychological diagnoses, family and residential risk factors and education status. According to findings in Durkin’s research, teens most at risk have mental health issues, family dysfunction, are one or more grades behind in school and need some kind of mentorship program to foster their recovery.”

And Hardin County’s partnership with ONU does just that. Reclaiming Futures Fellow and First Lady of ONU Chris DiBiasio shared the benefits of connecting ONU staff and students with Hardin County youth, both at Hardin Community School and at the college. She emphasized the importance of mentoring opportunities in developing a positive path for at-risk youth, citing a music workshop hosted at the University as just one example of potential mentoring activities.Hardin County stakeholder meeting

Wade Melton, program director of Hardin County Juvenile Court and director of Hardin
Community School, cites the annual stakeholder meeting as a productive way to share progress and elicit feedback.

“Our stakeholder meetings gives us an important opportunity to connect with community members to share our wins and our hurdles. Everything we do to improve the lives of at-risk youths also goes back into the health and growth of our local community, so it’s crucial to have these touchpoints, to hear stories and generate new ideas.

Updated: February 08 2018