Guam Family Recovery Program combats drugs and impacts on famili - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Guam Family Recovery Program combats drugs and impacts on families

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Drugs hurt families. Superior Court Judge Linda Ingles has seen it time and time again, saying, "It's become a real problem and we see a lot of that in the courts with our parents."

Local statistics support her observations. The Guam Police Department's 2013 Uniform Crime Report shows nearly 300 drug abuse violations. The Department of Public Health also reporting an average of 220 referrals per year involving children at-risk due to drug use by their caretakers.

"I think for Guam, I think they recognize the need to better serve these families," he shared.

That's where the Guam Family Recovery Program comes into action. On island to help rollout the initiative are Russ Bernejo and Theresa Lemus who work with Children and Family Futures, Inc. "There is a new approach that is offered by the family drug court model. And we've been able to achieve better outcomes for children and their families throughout the country," he added.

But, it's not enough for moms and dads to stop using drugs. Lemus said, "A lot of the families that we see in family treatment courts, the parents didn't have effective parenting when they were growing up. So they don't really have a model for how to do what they need and want to do for their children. 0148 So this program is helping those parents just do what they want to do, which is be the best parents they can be."

And, like the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Lemus explains the program takes an intergovernmental effort, noting, "It takes a community of support to do that once they stop using substances, but that's what we see with family treatments courts - these families when they have a team come together helping them, they do much better and the kids get to stay home and grow up in their own family as opposed to foster care."

The Judiciary of Guam is currently seeking out 20 families to participate in the program. What Judge Ingles says can be the most difficult step for some, saying, "Not every family will be willing. Not every parent will be willing. It's a voluntary program 0126 if they're not willing to participate, because substance abuse is a type of problem where people don't want to be assessed, they don't want to participate."

 The end goal is happy, healthy families.

Ingles concluded by saying, "We're not just treating the children, taking care of the children, but we're treating their parents and hopefully we'll have a good outcome. A better outcome so they won't come back into our system."

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