Friday, February 04, 2005


Funny Stories

Are we going to the dogs?

In 1997 or 1998, Judge Eichholtz, of the mental health court, Sara Lynn Carson, of the Marion County Mental Health Association, and myself were nominated for some sort of annual award in Vigo County. Perhaps it was named something like "Innovator of the Year." In addition to the honor of being nominated, we were invited to the honor's banquet in Terre Haute.

We all met on the day and I drove us down.

It was a very nice and formal affair. We smoozed and mingled. Met contacts and networked. We sat down to dinner. Then we had to sit through two hours of awards being given out.

Finally, our category came up. It came down to us and a new program in Vigo County. In this new program, dogs were taken around to nursing homes, group homes, and mental hospitals. It was "pet therapy."

The big moment came, after the speaker praised and praised our program...then he announced the winner....THE DOGS. The dog therapy program won the award.

Although we did not win this award, the citizens of Vigo County thought enough of our program to copy it there. They even kept the name that I had come up with---The PAIR Program.

The fact that the PAIR Program being nominated lead to an article being publish in some legal journals and a designation by the National Mental Health Association as a "best practices" model. To date there are programs in Missouri, Washington, Texas, and Alaska, these are programs that copied the original PAIR Program from Marion County.

From this web site:
PAIR (Psychiatric Assertive Identification and Referral Program)

"This is a Hamilton Center and MHA program designed to address the needs of persons with mental illness who have been charged with certain criminal offenses. The goal of the program is to identify these individuals as soon as possible and facilitate the release into community-based treatment. Persons can be referred by anyone and after approval, can participate in the program." ------
Mental Health Association in Vigo County, 620 8th Ave.,Terre Haute, IN 47804
(812) 232-5681 Fax (812) 234-2863

Read about it here.

We joked for weeks that our program was going to the "dogs."

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