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Children's Home, Necco Presented With Large Checks to Combat Youth Substance Abuse

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and First Lady Jane Beshear today presented ceremonial checks to the Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky and Necco, two Northern Kentucky agencies selected for funding through the KY Kids Recovery grant program.  

The Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky in Covington received $1.5 million and Necco, located in Florence, received $1.37 million to fund expanded adolescent substance abuse treatment programs and services.  The KY Kids Recovery grant funding is a result of settlements Attorney General Conway secured from two pharmaceutical companies.

“The Northern Kentucky area has been hit particularly hard with heroin and opiate addiction,” Conway said, in a news release. “For years, parents have had to travel away from home to find a treatment bed for their sons or daughters. I made a commitment to expand adolescent treatment in Northern Kentucky, and it’s an honor to be here today to make good on that promise. These grants will help save lives, and I am honored to join First Lady Beshear as we continue fighting the cycle of addiction in our Commonwealth and help provide second chances to our youth who are working hard to seek treatment and get healthy.”

“Northern Kentucky has been especially hard-hit by the substance abuse epidemic,” said Mrs. Beshear, in a news release.  “The funding from the KY Kids Recovery grant will help the Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky and Necco enhance programming for young people struggling with addiction and give them the opportunity to recover and lead sober, healthy lives. Thank you to Attorney General Conway and the Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory Committee (SATAC) for helping these quality organizations expand much-needed treatment services in their communities.”  

Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky (CHNK) was founded in 1882 by Colonel Amos Shinkle. It originally served the community as an orphanage for children who were homeless or orphaned. In the 1980s, it shifted its focus to abused, neglected, and at-risk children and their families. Utilizing the KY Kids Recovery grant funding, the facility will create a dedicated residential substance abuse treatment program for adolescents. 

Additionally, the grant will help the agency expand its community-based Champions program. Through the Champions program, the agency receives referrals of at-risk children from local schools. CHNK then develops an individualized treatment program for each child that lasts about eight weeks.  The intervention includes therapy for the child and family.  The program is designed to intervene with children at an early age who may have substance abuse, mental health or behavioral issues that may be addressed to keep the child in school, out of jail and on track to graduate.

“Thanks to the efforts of Governor and Mrs. Beshear, as well as to the diligent work of Attorney General Jack Conway, Children's Home of Northern Kentucky can pivot more quickly from the planning stage to the actual treatment of adolescents battling addiction in the Commonwealth,” shares Rick Wurth, Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky CEO.  “Their efforts, joined with SATAC, have effectively cut through layers of bureaucracy and have literally put children and adolescents as first priorities during an epidemic of heroin and other drug use.   CHNK is proud to be one part of a comprehensive plan to aid Kentucky families and youth during this critical period.”

Necco serves at-risk youth of all ages and families throughout Kentucky who face an array of challenges. It provides services for adolescents including:  therapeutic foster care, alternatives to secure detention, independent living, intensive home-based treatment, mental health treatment and community living. With the KY Kids Recovery grant, Necco will now be able to provide substance abuse treatment to youth and families in every Kentucky county through its locations in Lexington, Paducah, Grayson, Bowling Green, Florence, Louisville, Hazard, Owensboro, Somerset and Elizabethtown.

“Necco is pleased to be afforded this opportunity through the KY Kids Recovery grant program to provide much needed substance abuse services to adolescents,” said Pam Priddy, executive director of Necco.  “These services will directly support Necco’s mission to build families throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

Gov. Steve Beshear created the Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory Committee by executive order to oversee the KY Kids Recovery grant program and distribution of the settlement funds.  Existing providers, new providers, community partnerships and nonprofits were eligible to apply for the KY Kids Recovery grants. 

The Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory Committee submitted 19 recommended proposals to Gov. Beshear, who approved the funding for the recipients.  The programs recommended for funding are located in every region of the state and encompass all aspects of evidence-based, substance abuse services for adolescents, including prevention, outpatient counseling, intensive outpatient and residential services. 

$17,976,992 has been recommended in funding from an available total of $19,200,000.  The remaining balance will be reserved for future statewide projects and administrative oversight of recipients’ expenditures.  Awards will be paid through Kentucky Housing Corporation, in compliance with state accounting procedures.

For a complete list of the 19 grant recipients, visit KyKidsRecovery.ky.gov.

Substance Abuse Advisory Committee

In addition to Attorney General Conway and Mrs. Beshear, committee members include Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes, Justice and Public Safety Secretary J. Michael Brown, Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy Director Van Ingram, Kentucky Housing Corporation Executive Director/CEO J. Kathryn Peters and Dr. Allen Brenzel, Clinical Director of the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities.  Rep. Jimmy Lee serves as an ex-officio member of the committee.

History of KY Kids Recovery Grants

The KY Kids Recovery grants were created after Attorney General Conway settled cases against two pharmaceutical companies for $32 million.  The court orders filed in both settlements require that the funds be spent on drug treatment programs. 

In addition to the $19 million in KY Kids Recovery grants, the settlement is providing $500,000 to complete construction of a Recovery Kentucky center in Carter County, $2.5 million for almost 900 scholarships over two years to Recovery Kentucky centers, and $560,000 to create 14 drug-free homes for people completing and transitioning out of residential substance abuse treatment programs.

The following entities are also receiving funds over the next two years from the settlement:

  •          $6 million to administer and upgrade KASPER, Kentucky’s electronic prescription drug monitoring program.
  •          $1 million to support substance abuse treatment for pregnant women by Chrysalis House in Lexington and Independence House in Corbin. 
  •          $1.5 million to the University of Kentucky to develop best practices for adolescent substance abuse treatment providers.
  •          $1 million to develop a school-based substance abuse screening tool with the Kentucky Department of Education to intervene with at-risk children before they enter judicial or social services systems.

Photo: Children's Home of Northern Kentucky (provided)