Lenawee County Investing in You

County News

Lenawee County. We believe it’s the greatest county in Michigan. That’s why we continue to invest in a wide range of county programs and services to make this the best place to live in Michigan. Investing in our communities. Investing in our citizens. Investing in You.

Dec 26

Lenawee County is Investing in Justice through Enhanced Treatment Court

Posted on December 26, 2018 at 9:53 AM by Jennifer Ambrose

Imagine finding yourself in jail, not knowing how you got there and struggling with confusion and hopelessness.  You don’t understand what is going on.  You may not know how you got there.

For those struggling with mental illness, this is not an imaginary story. It’s reality.

Over 44 million Americans suffer from a mental illness and many have trouble accessing care due to a shortage of care professionals.  Poverty inflicts additional damage upon those that are already ill.  Our jails are full of those that suffer – in some counties up to 50% of inmates have a mental health condition.  Mental illness is not a crime and Lenawee County is attempting to change the paradigm. 

True Justice for All
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Lenawee County has three specialty, or problem-solving courts.  These special court programs are designed to address the underlying problems facing offenders and are focused on rehabilitation instead of incarceration.  Sobriety Court, Drug Court, and Enhanced Treatment Court save the county countless dollars every year by reducing reoffenders.

The Enhanced Treatment Court program, sometimes called Mental Health Court, was launched in late 2016.  Participants must qualify to participate in the program but in doing so they have the opportunity to turn their lives around.

“This program benefits the participants by offering them mental health and substance abuse treatment instead of jail time,” explained Heather Brown, Certified Peer Support Specialist and Recovery Coach.  “Once our participants tap into the resources that are provided for them, they realize they’re not alone.”

One is the Loneliest Number

Isolation and mental illness often work hand in hand and creates a vicious cycle that is hard to break.  Mental Health Court seeks to break that cycle.  “Our goal is that participants are getting connected and engaging in the community,” explained Ashley Boehlke, Probation officer and Specialty Courts Coordinator.

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Our community benefits the most when all of its members are healthy, productive, and functioning members of society.  “If our community didn’t have an Enhanced Treatment Court for mental health services, we would have a lot of defendants ‘slip through the cracks’ so to speak,” elaborated Boehlke. “There would be more people that spend time in jail and more that don’t get connected with mental health treatment while they’re on probation.”

“This program benefits our community by really focusing on the person as a whole and helping them become functioning members of society,” explained Brown.

Community Importance

With the closing of an in-patient psychiatric unit at Herrick Hospital last year, this program is even more essential for our county. It is difficult to get connected to the appropriate services for mental health, especially in an emergency situation, which may often lead an individual to committing a crime.

“Since the in-patient psych unit shut down in Lenawee County we have – as a community not, just our program – all seen a big need for people to be able to get in-patient services,” said Boehlke. “We hope that getting the participants connected with out-patient services in a much quicker way will help alleviate some of that need.”

Access to immediate, emergency, local mental health care continues to be a concern for many citizens in Lenawee County.  At a recent town hall event, over 150 residents attended to brainstorm ways to help solve the problem.  The Mental Health Court program is just one piece of a larger puzzle in the county and Lenawee County officials stress its importance now, more than ever.

“We are listening to our citizens and their concerns,” stated David Stimpson, Lenawee County Board of Commissioners Chair.  “We remain committed to the Enhanced Treatment Court program as one community resource for mental health treatment.  Our investment in this program is an investment in our citizens and enhances our community.”

Intensive Rehabilitation Program

The 12-24 month program includes a customized treatment plan for each participant.  Within seven days participants are connected to treatment providers and they are assigned a specialist that is their resource throughout their time in the program. They also participate in individual and group therapy, have access to appropriate medication, and are required to attend ongoing meetings with the court system. 

“We also provide transportation to and from appointments for our participants,” explained Brown. “It helps them to really engage with their treatment and gives us more face-to-face time to work on their coping skills.”

A Successful Program Leads to a Successful Lenawee

Since its launch in 2016, the program has seen great success. 

  • 100% of graduates have maintained stable housing at least 90 days prior to graduation
  • The program has an 85% retention rate (The state of Michigan’s goal for the same program is 60%)
  • 90% of the participants compliant with the program (The state of Michigan’s goal is only 80%).

The program has seven graduates, with one participant nearing graduation shortly.  Boehkle and Brown are very proud of the program that they help run on a daily basis as well as their graduates. 


“This program benefits our community by really focusing on the person as a whole and helping them become functioning members of society,” explained Brown. 

For more information about Mental Health Court, visit us online or contact the District Court at 517-264-4675.
Sep 04

Lenawee County is Investing in Mobility through Transportation Programs

Posted on September 4, 2018 at 11:03 AM by Jennifer Ambrose

Transportation is something that most people take for granted. If you need to go somewhere, you just hop in your car and drive there. But some residents in Lenawee County do not have access to their own personal transportation. Having access to transportation provides independence and economic opportunities, allowing people to travel from home to work, school, community programs, doctor’s appointments, retail stores or just to visit your family or friends.  Public transportation can provide a sense of independence for our mobility dependent population.

Lenawee County understands the positive impact that reliable and affordable transportation can have on people’s lives. That is why we are investing in your mobility through Lenawee Transportation, which is Lenawee County’s public transportation system.

Who does Lenawee Transportation serve?

Lenawee Transportation is open to everyone in the community. Last year, they served over 50,000 riders, including individuals with disabilities and senior citizens who no longer hold a driver’s license. Some of their clients use the service daily to get to community programs such as Goodwill or the Hope Community Center. Others may use it on a one-time basis for a ride to a doctor’s appointment or a trip the grocery store.  For some, Lenawee Transportation’s service provides an opportunity for someone to visit a friend.

“A lot of people think that Lenawee Transportation is only for specialized services, but that is not the case,” explains Becky Blevins, Lenawee Transportation Dispatcher. “We are open to anyone who needs a ride. As long as it is within our service area, we will do everything we can to accommodate everyone.”

What is the service area for Lenawee Transportation?

Lenawee Transportation operates Monday through Friday. Standard office hours are from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, but they start picking up residents as early as 6:15 am in order to complete their routes. The service initiates in Adrian and transports residents to following areas: Blissfield, Clinton, Hudson, Morenci, Rome and Tecumseh.

Starting in 2017, they also added a route serving the Onsted area. They offer curbside pick-up for residents of the Village of Onsted with drop-off in Adrian. For those who reside outside of the Village limits, they offer pick-up at a mutually agreed upon location within the Village limits. This route currently operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays only.

A list of all the routes is available on the Lenawee Transportation website.

How much does it cost to ride with Lenawee Transportation?

Lenawee Transportation offers reasonable rates so anyone can afford to ride. The rates for a one-way trip are $3 for adults and $1.50 for children under age 10, senior citizens and people with disabilities.  Exact change is required.  To make it easier for residents, they accept cash or tokens for payment. Tokens are available for purchase at the transportation department at the Adrian City Hall.

How can I contact Lenawee Transportation?

Anyone who needs to schedule a ride can call the dispatch office at 517-265-4444. Advance reservations are not always required.  Same day service may be available depending on room availability and your origin and destination.  It is important to call and cancel your ride if your plans change. That will open up a space for another person to ride. If you have special needs, such as a wheelchair, please let the dispatcher know so we may secure a spot for you!

Lenawee Transportation is a valuable resource that many people depend on within our community. There are also economic benefits for our community, as well.  “If Lenawee Transportation did not exist, I think it would be a huge disadvantage to our county,” says Blevins. “There are not a lot of other options in our community for discounted transportation. And our fares are very fairly priced so that anyone can afford them.”

If you would like to learn more about how Lenawee County is investing in you, please visit our website for information and updates.




Aug 17

Lenawee County is investing in Children through Foster Care Programs

Posted on August 17, 2018 at 10:59 AM by Jennifer Ambrose

Families are the foundation of our community. Strong families can provide the love, support and encouragement that children need to grow into healthy and productive adults. Unfortunately, there are times when families may start to fall apart due to drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness, a financial crisis or a variety of other reasons. At those times, the foster care system steps in to provide a safe environment for the children until they can return home.

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Lenawee County has a spectrum of foster care services and programs to support children and families during times of crisis. These programs help hundreds of children every year by providing services such as foster home licensing, foster care placements, daycare for younger children, mental health counselling, and life skills classes for teenagers who will soon graduate from foster care into adulthood. Through these programs, Lenawee County is investing in our children and our community’s future.

Why is Foster Care important?

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The foster care system is all about making connections, whether it is connecting a child with the right foster care home or connecting parents with the services they need. When a parent or family member is in crisis, they are not always able to care for the children effectively. The foster care system allows the parents some time to step back and resolve their own issues and learn how to be better at what they do so they can be reunited with their children.

Lisa Millyard is currently an MI Team Specialist at the Department of Health and Human Services in Lenawee and Monroe counties. After working in child protective services for 15 years and foster care licensing for two years, she understands the importance of foster care for children and families. “Foster care is designed to provide a safe and loving home for children to go to while their families are healing,” explains Millyard.

“The biggest need the children have is just to know there is someone out there they can connect with. If they can find one person to connect with and really have a relationship with, that can help them build resiliency and move toward healing. It is our job to make that connection.”

What types of children need Foster Care?

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Foster care supports children of all ages. Many people are interested in providing foster care for an infant or young child, which leaves a large number of teenagers waiting to be matched with a foster home. There are often misconceptions that foster care children are troubled or have behavior issues, but that is not necessarily the case. “They are just regular kids,” says Millyard. “The kids you see in the grocery store or in the neighborhood or in your child’s class. I think a lot of people would be extremely surprised at what these kids have to offer.”

Foster care placements may last for a few weeks, months or even years depending on the situation. In some cases, the foster care parents may maintain contact with the child’s birth parents, either directly or through the foster care agency. Adoption is also a possibility in cases where the child cannot be reunited with his or her birth parents.

How can I become a Foster Care parent?

There is always a need for foster parents, especially families who are interested in fostering teenagers or are willing to take more than one child in order to keep siblings together in the same foster home.

Sheryl Mohr and her husband Matt were parents to five biological children when they decided to open their home as foster parents. Their youngest child was 11 years old at the time. “I just knew in my heart that it was something I wanted to do,” says Sheryl.

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It took a little bit of convincing to get her husband on board, but once the couple had their first experience in foster care, they knew that they had found their true calling. Earlier this year, the Mohr’s adopted three siblings ranging in age from 8 to 12 years old. They now have a total of 15 children. They have become advocates for foster care, encouraging others in the community to volunteer their time.

“I wish other people knew that being a foster parent means simply being a parent,” says Sheryl. “Just giving of your heart, loving a child, and looking at them for who they are and where they are at.”

Anyone who is considering becoming a foster parent can take the first step and request more information by calling the Lenawee County Department of Health and Human Services at 1-517-264-6300 or going online to learn more about the foster care program.

“Being a foster parent is an awesome way to give back to the community,” says Millyard. “People think that they need to be married and they can’t foster if they are single, or if they have a full-time job, but that is not the case.” There is a wide network of support and resources for anyone who is interested in becoming a foster parent.

Lenawee County is investing in you by ensuring that our children have a bright future through the foster care program. For more information on how Lenawee County is investing in you, visit our website.