From left, Judge Trent Favre and Candace Stalter.

Meth is a horrible drug,” Candace Stalter said. “Most people don’t get the chance to walk away.” 

In February of this year, Stalter’s case with youth court was officially closed and she was reunited with her children Stanley and Gage. She is also celebrating a little over a year of sobriety. 

June is National Reunification Month which “recognizes the people and efforts around the country that help families to stay together,” according to the American Bar Association’s website. 

Hancock County Judge Trent Favre said that the “success rates are much higher when kids are with family.” 

Stalter was in county jail when she first met Favre, but she said she had already completed some of her goals, which included rehab.

“Sobriety is the key piece,” Favre said. “She knocked it out on her own.” 

Stalter said what makes her stand out is that she didn’t expect the court to map it all out for her.

“I knew what I wanted and laid out my plan,” she said. “Your (the court’s) plan coincided with mine.” 

Favre said it was evident Stalter has a strong bond with her sons and support from family and friends. 

“The court interaction was positive,” he said. “We also had a connection. Being able to connect is not always easy. At one point, I saw here three times in public in a week. It’s awesome to see her progress and knowing she was committed.” 

Stalter said she made a choice and decided to choose her kids over drugs. 

“A lot of people don’t want to make that choice,’ she said. “You’re not going to tell me that I’m not going to do something. You have to have that determination. There will be things you don’t want to do, but you have to swallow your pride.” 

Stalter said her “clear” understanding of what needed to be completed in court shows them “you’re not playing around.” 

Favre described Stalter as “strong-willed.” 

“She realized this is not to hurt me, but to help me,” he said. 

Stalter said it wasn’t an “easy road.” 

“Some people have an expectation of a time frame,” she said. “Don’t expect that.” 

The Department of Human Services and court construct service plans, she said, which map out what needs to be done. Those tasks can include rehab, securing stable housing, securing a job and providing a safe home. 

“A lot of people have nowhere to go after rehab,” Stalter said.

She said that her family and friends helped her obtain a job and a car. 

“It’s not just about you,” Favre said. “Everyone has a role.” 

While she completed her requirements, her sons stayed with family members, she said. 

“I was raised by a good woman,” Stalter said. “My mistakes were my mistakes. It’s hard to walk away from drugs and have that will. But I gained so much more in the end.” 

Stalter said that it can be intimidating walking into the courtroom and that people might not want to do everything on the plan. 

“Just start checking off things,” she said. “Just do it. Make a choice. Do I want that or do I want this?” 

Stalter gives a lot of credit to her support system, including her family, friends, Favre, and Deputy Rogers from the Hancock County jail. 

Stalter said that she speaks to Deputy Rogers every day. 

“A lot of the time, people look down on us,” she said. “You can’t let that get to you.”

Now that she has reunified with her sons and completed her requirements, Stalter said it feels like a weight was lifted off her shoulders.

“You can breathe,” she said. “When you’re on drugs, your life is not your life. I finally have my life back.” 

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