For the first time in Delaware County’s history, local youth who find themselves facing legal problems will have an opportunity to participate in interventional preliminary services that focus on assessment and risk-reduction, rather than formal penalization of the traditional court system.
According to officials, the Delaware County Juvenile Court opened its first juvenile Assessment Center with funding provided by the Ohio Department of Youth Services as a means to implement cutting edge practices that reduce costs associated with juvenile delinquency, as well as the personal impact and future implications youth face when they enter the criminal justice system.
About The Assessment Center
The Assessment Center, which began providing services from the Willis Education Center in November, will focus on interventions for youth and high school kids before they become formally involved in the justice system. Programming will include a series of screenings and assessments to evaluate the specific needs of youth and their families, and determine:
- Appropriate referrals to community partners capable of meeting participants’ needs;
- Whether youth with be diverted from formal court involvement.
Research behind the Assessment Center finds preventative measures for at-risk juveniles can provide considerable benefits for individuals and communities – in much the same way as in our health care system. Advocates also note the numbers show formal court involvement can actually increase a young person’s risk of reoffending.
Referrals to the new Assessment Center may be made by law enforcement, schools, community partners, and parents, empowering all adults with a reliable method of early intervention for youth in need of help.
Protecting Kids’ Futures
As a law firm actively involved in handling juvenile crime and high school and college cases – and parents ourselves – Koffel Brininger Nesbitt commends Delaware County’s efforts to implement sensible policies that place a premium on intervention and diversion, rather than strict punishment and formal institutionalization of our youth.
Over the years, data collected by advocates across the country has shown how our communities can better handle legal problems involving our youth, and provide kids, families, and others who lead and counsel our children with reasonable alternatives to steel bars and scarlet letters.
If you have questions about a juvenile criminal case, Title IX hearing, or another matter involving turbulent teens and youth, Attorney Brad Koffel and the KBN team are here to help. Call (614) 675-4845 or contact us online to speak personally with a member of our team.