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Levy Announces Expansion Of Probation Program To Treat Serious Mental Health Disorders And Substance Addictions

Originally Posted: September 23, 2010

Hauppauge - Suffolk Executive Steve Levy announced that the county has secured a $590,000 federal grant that will be used to expand a Probation Department program providing supervision and services to help probationers achieve sobriety, attain good physical and mental health, and acquire education and training for future success.

Levy, along with Suffolk Probation Director John Desmond and Suffolk Department of Health Services Commissioner James L. Tomarken, said the county is one of only 12 municipalities nationwide selected for this dual-program grant, called the federal Department of Justice's "Second Chance Act Re-entry Demonstration Award." The $590,000 grant will be used over a two-year period to fund the hiring of two part time and two full time employees in Probation, including a full-time probation officer and a full-time psychiatric social worker.

County Executive Levy said, "Our efforts to counsel and rehabilitate higher-risk persons who have been dually diagnosed with serious mental health disorders and alcohol or substance addictions will be enhanced through the expansion of this program."

Desmond noted that the federal funding "will enable us to provide these important services not only at the county's mental health clinic in Farmingville but, by the beginning of 2011, also at our Day Reporting Center in Hauppauge."

Dr. Tomarken pointed out that the service is jointly conducted by Probation and the Mental Health unit in the Department of Health Services. "We anticipate being able to provide comprehensive care and treatment for nearly 50 individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders over the two-year period," he said.

The dual diagnosis program, located in Farmingville, is a collaborative effort by the Probation Department and the Health Department and was initiated by County Executive Levy in 2007.

A similar inter-departmental initiative, the Alternatives for Youth Program, was implemented by County Executive Levy in October of 2005. The program, administered jointly by the Suffolk County departments of Probation, Social Services and Health Services, provides a comprehensive and coordinated preventive service system designed to keep high-risk youth from entering the juvenile justice system and requiring costly out-of-home placement.

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