Sober home certification: Nonprofit could again lose money to do it


Certifying sober homes was one of the top proposals for cleaning up the state’s fraud-ridden drug treatment industry, thePalm Beach County State Attorney’s Task Force concluded last year.

But for a second year in a row, the organization that does the certifying statewide could see its financing gutted by lawmakers.

In February, the Florida Association for Recovery Residences asked the Legislature for $275,000 to train five people to certify sober homes and obtain new software. Sen. Kevin Rader, a Democrat from Delray Beach, filed the request.

Now $175,000 of the proposed money has been diverted to continue State Attorney Dave Aronberg’s Sober Homes Task Force. The measure hasn’t yet passed.

For FARR, it feels like a repeat of last year’s legislative session, when it asked for money only to get nothing and see $275,000 go to Aronberg. An additional $125,000 is also slated to go his task force this year.

“I am definitely in support of Aronberg continuing on,” said FARR’s executive director, John Lehman. “If he needs $300,000 he should get $300,000, but it shouldn’t come out of FARR. Why would it come out of FARR?”

In December, both the task force and a grand jury recommended a series of reforms that included requiring any “commercial” sober home — where patients live while they are still getting treatment — be required to be certified.

A bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Bill Hager of Boca Raton doesn’t go that far. Sober homes wouldn’t have to be certified, but it would be illegal for a treatment center to refer patients to a sober home that isn’t certified.

Aronberg’s chief assistant, Al Johnson, said it shouldn’t be a choice between financing the task force and FARR.

“Yes, FARR needs to be adequately funded and yes, the Sober Homes Task Force needs to extend another year, so it’s a false choice,” Johnson said. “Both should be funded.”

Lehman said what he’s asking for is a one-time request. Fees paid by sober homes seeking certification should support the Boca Raton-based nonprofit going forward.

Lehman said the money would go toward hiring and training five people to inspect sober homes across the state, getting better software and educating sober home owners.

“There are lots of recovery residences that don’t have a policy and procedure manual and wouldn’t know how to build one if their life depended on it,” Lehman said.

He said none of the money would go to his own salary — he doesn’t have one and hasn’t in his five years leading FARR.

Palm Beach Post staff writer Joe Capozzi contributed to this report.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Michigan mother puts children in suitcase, leaves them at curb with garbage 
Michigan mother puts children in suitcase, leaves them at curb with garbage 

A Michigan woman put some of her children in a suitcase and placed them next to the garbage at the road, then fled before Child Protective Services personnel arrived, WEYI reported. The incident took place in Flint shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday, Flint Police said. Police came to the residence to assist CPS officials, who were coming to take custody...
Amazon warehouse culture like 'prison,' undercover author writes 
Amazon warehouse culture like 'prison,' undercover author writes 

An undercover author said working in an Amazon fulfillment center is like "a prison," where workers were urinating in bottles because they did not have enough time to go to the bathroom.  James Bloodworth, as part of his book "Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain," spent almost a month in 2016 working as a "...
Man racks up $8,000 bill at Florida resort with fake credit card, police say
Man racks up $8,000 bill at Florida resort with fake credit card, police say

A New York man is accused of charging more than $8,000 at a Florida resort hotel with a counterfeit credit card, The Tampa Bay Times reported. Gavroch Muller Cadet, 27, of Brooklyn, was arrested Monday and charged with multiple counts of forgery of a credit card and a count of possession of marijuana, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office...
Take a sneak peek inside Boynton’s remodeled historic high school
Take a sneak peek inside Boynton’s remodeled historic high school

When the public visits Boynton Beach’s historic high school next year in its new capacity as a civic and cultural arts center, they’ll see the 1927 building’s original southern pine wood, the terracotta construction, the 12-inch thick walls and its concrete beams. They’ll see the same stairways students and teachers once...
Queen Elizabeth's last corgi dog put down
Queen Elizabeth's last corgi dog put down

The last of Queen Elizabeth’s corgis was put to sleep after a long struggle with cancer, The Daily Mail reported. The dog, Willow, was nearly 15. That means that for the first time since World War II, the Queen, 91, does not have a corgi in her household. Monty Roberts told Vanity Fair she didn’t want to have any more young...
More Stories