Waukesha County forced to cut staff, capacity at alcohol treatment program

CREATED Aug 8, 2014

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WAUKESHA -- A $1.2 million federal grant expires September 30th, jeopardizing the reach and effectiveness of Waukesha County's alcohol treatment program.

Many court sentences for repeat OWI offenders include orders for treatment at the county's Alcohol Treatment Court, an intensive year-long program of rehabilitation.
Founded in 2006, the ATC and its sponsor, Wisconsin Community Services, first only had the capacity to help 3-time offenders. With the grant, that expanded to include case managers for 4-time offenders as well.

Together, the ATC enabled more than 300 people to graduate, including Michael O'Finley.

"I feel stronger now, my work has been a lot easier," O'Finley told TODAY'S TMJ4. "One of the big influences you have is the people around you."

The ATC will now lose two case managers - half its staff.

"It would be a significant loss," O'Finley lamented. "I've always been a fan of second chances and that's what this does it gives someone a second chance."

County commissioners did allocate money to the ATC to keep up its current operations until the end of 2014.