April 4, 2005
As the executive director of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Ruth Stone understands first-hand the lasting effects of abuse on children.
CASA, an organization that helps abused children lost in the court system, is just one of the agencies behind the Charlottesville-Albemarle Family Treatment Court.
"Family Treatment Court is designed for parents who have lost custody of their children or who are about to lose custody of their children primarily because of neglect," said Stone.
Most of the parents are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and need rehabilitation, which can become costly.
Just this year, the program received $449,905 in federal grants.
Before receiving the grant, the program relied heavily on volunteers, but with the new money, they can afford the staff they desperately need. A better-equipped staff could mean a faster turn-around for clients, and less time in foster care for children.
"I think that we'll either have children move home more quickly or we'll know that we need to move forward with adoption," said Stone.
Since it began almost two years ago, the pilot program has proven to be a success. In the past only 10 clients were admitted, now the three-year grant is opening doors to those unable to get in before.