PARKERSBURG - The Mid-Ohio Valley Community Corrections Day Report Center is taking full advantage of the latest grant-funded technology to help clients in their recovery and rehabilitation process.
Dennie Huggins, DRC executive director, said the center has obtained a $4,000 mini-grant from West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, a nonprofit organization, to purchase computers and needed equipment to allow DRC clients and their families to have access to health insurance, jobs, rehabilitative services and other needed information.
"The computers will definitely be an asset to our clients because they have transportation problems, they can apply for employment online, they can register for job service, get on the web portal for DHHR and apply for benefits. The main purpose will be to make sure everyone associated with the DRC will have access to apply for Affordable Health Care Act benefits," said Debbie Murphy, the DRC counselor who coordinated the grant.
Photo by Pamela Brust
Dennie Huggins, Day Report Center executive director, said a mini-grant was obtained to purchase computers to be available for DRC clients and their families to access insurance, job and other information. The computers went online this past week.
The DRC offers an alternative sentencing program providing assessment, case management, substance abuse treatment, batterers intervention prevention programming, life-skills training, counseling, and rehabilitation, along with supervised community service to clients assigned through the court system.
Referrals to the program come through the courts, Department of Health and Human Services, law enforcement, Home Confinement Program, probation and parole officials and attorneys.
With offices at 916 Market St., the center is serving 154 clients in Wood County; 43 in Roane and 27 in Jackson counties in satellite facilities located in those counties.
"The computers, which are monitored and located in a central location, are ready to go now. They can also be used for training and information. It gives clients access to a multitude of programs they can apply for, check on. It's part of our overall rehabilitation, life-skills program," Huggins said, noting if clients need assistance accessing the computers and programs, staff is available to help.
"This is the season when it's not unusual for people to relapse, and this is just another tool to help them stay on track," Huggins said.
"One of the barriers we've found in our practice in working with the clients is a lack of life skills, including not having access to or knowing how to use technology they might need, providing job skills they might not have access to," Murphy said.
"We have also linked up with First Choices Services in Charleston who are administering a grant to link recovery to technology. They are providing the clients we determined, were assessed to be appropriate for the program, with a SmartPhone and through the grant the fee is paid for six months. It's research-based, to be able to apply today's technology to increase the likelihood of long-term sobriety," she said.
"We are notified if it appears they have an increased risk factor, or are heading for relapse," Murphy said.
Through the special recovery app offered by the Appalachian Technology Assisted Recovery Innovations Program, clients have access to web-based social support, education, self-assessments, recovery skill enhancement, local support group meeting and information, connection to crisis support, expert advice.
Murphy said there are about 12 of the phones in circulation with clients now.
Amy Church, DRC counselor/case manager, said apps for the phone include the ability to message with other clients, network, discussion boards and get feedback.
"It's working really well, they are supporting each other. It's putting recovery at their fingertips. If it's midnight and you're having a rough time, what do you do, this gives them more options," Church said.
"There is information for all the AA, NA meetings in the area, there are apps for options if they are in a crisis situation, there are stress relief and relaxation exercises they can do, they can contact their counselor, there are events listed they might be interested in, they can post their story, podcasts they can listen to," Church said. "They do have to fill out a weekly survey on how their recovery is going, whether they are attending AA, NA meetings and other information."
"If the survey indicates they are having a lot of problems, it notifies their counselor to check in with them. It's brand new, we started less than a month ago, and so far it's working really well," Church said.
The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the Highmark Foundation, Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund and The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation funded the grant program for the computers.
Thirty West Virginia organizations received the mini-grants.
The DRC has also recently expanded its programming options including adding classes for outpatient treatment, life skills, parenting and other programs as well as offering night classes to offer more options to clients.
The drug screening lab at the DRC is also looking at expansion.