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Mental Health Court gets funds for next year

MORRIS – Three months after Grundy County Mental Health Court started in Morris, program officials have received word they will receive funding for fiscal 2016, beginning July 1 and running through June 30, 2016.

Mental Health Court is designed to divert nonviolent, mentally ill offenders away from prisons and into rehabilitation programs.

“The program and the application process for funding is always a team effort and we were very pleased to learn that we will receive funding for the upcoming year,” Judge Lance Peterson said in a news release. “This is a significant benefit to the community.”

Peterson said Wednesday there are four people participating in the program, and by next year the state expects the county to have nine more participants.

“Each person presents a unique challenge,” he said. “They are all progressing.”

The Mental Health Court program is made up of a court team that includes members from the Grundy County State’s Attorney’s office, the public defender’s office, the Grundy County Health Department, the probation department and program administrator Susie Galloway.

The group originally applied for a grant last year and was scheduled to start last fall when it was informed it didn’t receive the grant. The group resubmitted the application and received word in December it was approved for $51,380.

In January, weeks before the first court date, the program discovered funding was halted because of an executive order by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

By February, the group learned the grant was released and it could begin right away.

The program is funded by Adult Redeploy Illinois, and getting the funding for the next year was a relief to the group.

The grant is for $87,300, which Peterson said covers most program expenses.

“There have been some costs that have come up, including temporary housing, medical needs and transportation costs that aren’t covered by the grant,” he said. “The team is doing local fundraising to cover the additional costs.”

Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland said previously Mental Health Court is available to some defendants who fit given criteria, including having committed a felony and having an axis 1 disorder, such as a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety disorder.

Helland did not immediately return calls for comment Wednesday.

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