The Journal Gazette
Thursday, November 04, 2021 12:56 pm

2 social workers helping city police

To assist people with substance-abuse disorders who encounter law enforcement

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette

The city today introduced two social workers who have been working with the Fort Wayne Police Department since August.

Darcy Robbins was hired as lead social worker and Samantha Taylor was hired as a social worker after the city received a grant. The city will receive $245,000 annually for three years from the federal government's Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration and the Lutheran Foundation.

The social workers have the expertise to help people with substance abuse disorders that encounter law enforcement, Mayor Tom Henry said. The cases can be long-term and complex, and the social workers can provide help for individuals and their families with treatment options.

Robbins and Taylor have helped 167 individuals since August, and they've worked with 29 social service organizations. The social workers are focused on substance abuse issues, but Robbins said their work will cover several other issues.

“We want to build connections with social service industries and start to deconstruct those silos,” she said. “We want to connect the community to the department so robust conversations can happen. We want to connect officers with peer support so they can take care of their mental health.”

The city has seen 975 non-fatal overdose cases this year through September, and at least 95 people have died of overdoses through Oct. 13. More than 20 causes of death are pending toxicology results.

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