NEWPORT — A family assistance agency in South Burlington called Lund has been awarded a five-year, $3 million grant that will go to provide intensive services for at-risk families in Burlington and Newport.
The grant will help Lund establish the Vermont Family Recovery Project, where they plan to provide home-based services to improve well-being, permanency, and safety for children who have a parent with an identified substance use issue, and are at-risk for an out-of-home placement
The project will focus on reducing risk and increasing wellness in order to prevent the disruption of the family.
“The evidence is clear, when families get the support they need to remain together, it is better for the person in recovery and it is better for the well-being of the child,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, who was in attendance at a press conference on Monday night. “I believe we can achieve the goal of keeping families together and keeping children safe, and I believe this grant will allow Lund to do just that.”
Vermont has the fourth highest rate of out-of-home placements for children in the United States. While measures vary, the Vermont Department of Health estimates that opioid use has increased more than 250 percent between 2009 and 2016.
As substance use has increased, the number of children who come into custody of the Vermont Department of Children and Families for abuse or neglect has increased by 47 percent since 2009.
“There is no more important investment than in our children and families, especially those who are at risk as a result of the opioid epidemic,” Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy said.