Centre officials approve tool for new drug court



BELLEFONTE — With the start of Centre County’s new drug court program around the corner, the program will have a new assessment tool for candidates.

During the Tuesday meeting of the county commissioners, a software hosting agreement with Public Health Management Cooperation was approved for RANT-Plus, a “risk and needs triage tool.”

“It’s going to make sure that we are finding our target population, which is going to be the high-risk, high-need people, so that we are not bringing in people who aren’t appropriate for the program,” explained Julie Seroski, specialty court coordinator. “I know right now we have people who are waiting to get started for drug court. There are people who the probation department were already thinking about, so we’re really excited to get started.”

Seroski will be overseeing operations of the new program once it gets off the ground next month. She said meetings have been held weekly to ensure readiness for the January start date.

RANT-Plus will operate on a yearly license, with the first year of $10,000 funded through state grant money, explained Gene Lauri, director of the county criminal justice planning department. The web-based system, will allow the county to do a number of reports, along with the administration of an antisocial personality disorder assessment.

Seroski, using RANT-Plus, will go out and assess anyone who comes through on a probation and parole violation whom the department thinks is appropriate for drug court. This will determine if the individual should continue with the drug court application process, she said.

The tool is similar to something the DUI court program currently uses. Lauri said the tool, which is specific to driving-under-the-influence questions, like past criminal history, has worked very well with the DUI court.

“It’s all self-reported, but in going through them, it has worked,” Seroski said.“Not everybody is considered high risk, high need, which was initially what people think, that they are all going to come out high risk, high need, and that’s not the case. I am happy it is working for us and it has identified individuals as high risk, low need, things like that.”

In other business, the commissioners approved:

r A check run of $1,199,183.28, dated Nov. 30.

r A contract with Secure-A-Home, which will provide fire alarm monitoring services in the Centre County Courthouse Annex. The contract total is $1,185 for Dec. 1, 2017 through Nov. 30, 2020.

r A contract renewal with Rodgers Clock Service for servicing the courthouse tower clock. The contract total is $1,050 for Jan. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2020.

r The submission of the 2017 Community Development Block Grant application to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The request is $382,213 for a water main replacement project in Millheim.

r A letter of agreement with Cindi L. Brown to provide intellectual disability services. The contract total is $3,000, with a $2,862 state and $138 county match.

r An addendum with Centre County Youth Service Bureau for a community services allocation for Student Assistance Program. The addendum total is $24,386, which increases the contract maximum to $62,386, with a $59,510 state and $2,876 county match.

r An addendum with Eagle Valley Personal Care for funds for additional supported living services. The addendum total is $33,124, which increases the contract maximum to $333,292, with a $317,927 state and $15,365 county match.

r Contracts with Murphy’s Outdoor Maintenance in Centre Hall to provide snow removal maintenance. Service fees include $50 for parking lot plowing; $30 for salt treatment; and $30 to to shovel the front porch, handicap walkway and the side entrance sidewalk. The first contract period is Nov. 20, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2017, and the second contract period is Jan. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2018.