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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Press Release

Contact Information: Joan Olson (630) 407-6015

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

DuPage County earns national award for program targeting first time drug offenders

The National Association of Counties (NACo) is pleased to grant DuPage County a 2019 Achievement Award for its program titled “First Offender Call Unified for Success (F.O.C.U.S.)” in the category of Criminal Justice and Public Safety. The awards honor top county government programs that are innovative and enhance services for their residents. 

The F.O.C.U.S. program’s goal is to provide non-violent first-time drug offenders the necessary treatment, counseling, education and support needed to successfully complete their term of probation and to ensure they remain on the road to recovery and rehabilitation. This new initiative refers cases from all felony Courtrooms that involve eligible participants to the F.O.C.U.S. courtroom, headed by one dedicated judge and a staff with expertise in all facets of addiction recovery. The program is funded by a $50,000 grant from the DuPage County Board and Heroin Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Task Force.  Since its inception in September of 2018, more than 500 cases have been assigned to the F.O.C.U.S. courtroom.

“The F.O.C.U.S. courtroom provides an alternative to addiction’s dangerous and deadly path.  The F.O.C.U.S. court structure and approach allows our circuit to be a leader in addressing the unrelenting heroin/opioid epidemic. It is an innovative approach which provides first-time offenders hope, a route to recovery and a productive life,” said Chief Judge Daniel Guerin of DuPage County’s 18th Circuit.

“As leaders, our goal is to save lives and keep our communities safe.  I commend Judge Guerin, F.O.C.U.S. Court presiding Judge Alexander McGimpsey, the prosecutors, public defenders, social workers and probation staff who make this program a success every day. We are changing outcomes for hundreds of people whose lives might otherwise be ruined by substance use disorder. I’m pleased to see this DuPage County initiative recognized on a national level,” said DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin.

NACo President Greg Cox said, “Counties implement innovative programs that enhance residents’ quality of life every day. This year’s Achievement Award-winning programs demonstrate how counties build healthy, safe and vibrant communities across America.”

Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.

NACo will recognize award-winning counties at its 2019 Annual Conference and Exposition July 12-15 in Clark County, Nevada.

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.