Jessica Cejnar / Thursday, Nov. 5 @ 10:18 a.m.

Del Norte County, Yurok Tribe Awarded $670,000 To Assist Tribal Families Struggling With Opioid Dependency

Del Norte County will use federal grant dollars to enhance a program that helps Yurok Tribal families struggling with opioid dependency.

The county's Department of Health and Human Services, county counsel's office and the Yurok Tribe will use $670,000 in Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention dollars to enhance the services its Joint Jurisdiction Family Wellness Court provides.

Seal of the Yurok Tribe

Created in March 2019, the JJFWC aims to address the needs of tribal families who would otherwise have their juvenile dependency cases heard at the Del Norte County Courthouse, according to a the Department of Health and Human Services.

From a Thursday news release:

Del Norte County Department of Health and Human Services and County Counsel, in partnership with The Yurok Tribe, have been awarded funding, in the amount of $670,000 over the next three years, to enhance services of our Joint Jurisdiction Family Wellness Court (JJFWC), which launched March 22, 2019. Yurok families, who would otherwise have their juvenile dependency cases heard at the local county courthouse, will have the option of participating in the JJFWC.

The JJFWC was developed to address our community’s unique needs. Tribal populations show high rates of opioid prescriptions, substance use, abuse, and overdoses, and a disproportionate number of children and families involved with Child Welfare. Despite being 9.3% of the overall county population, Native American children are overrepresented in our county’s child welfare system at 34%, showing the dire need for funding to better serve this community.

The JJFWC is best suited for our most vulnerable, high-risk families, who have open child welfare cases. The JJFWC empowers families to make healthy decisions and break the cycle of addiction and child abuse and neglect through a coordinated team approach with comprehensive and culturally competent services.

Participants of the JJFWC are involved in frequent team meetings and court hearings, and we help the family develop a support system for family recovery and child well-being. Families benefit from having a tribal court judge and a superior court judge, who bring together services in support of families.

With this funding, Del Norte County will establish and recruit for two new positions to support the JJFWC, committed solely to our work with Yurok families, creating the ability to focus on the families’ individual needs.

Our goal is to continue progress in providing parents with culturally appropriate treatment and recovery, keeping Native American children in their homes when possible, and keeping their families and communities intact.

Parents and children will mend their relationships, family members will be reunited, and recidivism rates will decrease. Our overall vision is that Native American families will no longer be overrepresented in Del Norte County’s child welfare system.

For more information, please call Julie Cain, Program Manager, at (707) 464-3191.




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