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updated: 3/13/2017 7:22 PM

McHenry Co. Mental Health Court to be part of drug court professionals training conference

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22nd Judicial Circuit-McHenry County

The Circuit Court of the 22nd Judicial Circuit recently was notified by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals that a proposal submitted by Jason Sterwerf, director of special projects; Scott Block, director of McHenry County Mental Health Board; and Dan Wallis, trial court administrator, was selected for inclusion in the National Association for Drug Court Professionals' annual training conference, July 9-12 in Washington, D.C. at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.

The association hosts the world's largest annual conference on treatment courts and criminal justice reform. With over 30 tracks and hundreds of sessions, this conference provides training to more than 5,000 attendees on critical topics.

The presentation will highlight the successes and the challenges of the McHenry County Mental Health Court.

The McHenry County Mental Health Court will be celebrating 10 years of operation in 2017.

Establishing and sustaining the Mental Health Court has provided many challenges as well as offered many learning opportunities. The program has evolved from the beginning stages of staff and process development to a consistent process, involving many team members and community agencies. The client treatment protocol has become challenging and ever changing, with treatment ranging from mental illness to co-occurring disorder and drug dependency.

The Mental Health Court process has improved, including evidence based screening assessments to determine clinical and risk/need levels.

In addition to the internal changes, over time the Mental Health Court program has experienced many external changes with community agencies and treatment providers.

During the past 10 years, the clients of the Mental Health Court experienced the closing of an agency which provided direct behavioral health services, and more recently an additional agency discontinued adult behavioral health services, forcing our program to forge new collaborative relationships with community treatment providers.