Clark County Juvenile Court Judge Katrine Lancaster said although the grant did not provide the county with any new program dollars, it did give them a “tremendous opportunity for guidance,” in developing the program.
“We are grateful for the opportunity provided by the Ohio Supreme Court and the collaboration of our many community partners to develop and initiative for this critically at-risk group of youth,” Lancaster said.
In 2019, 77% of Clark County youth charged in the juvenile system had some involvement in the child welfare system in their lifetime, Lancaster said, meaning the juvenile system and DJFS spent more resources on this population than youth involved with one system.
“At juvenile court, it is frustratingly difficult to present rehabilitation programs for youth who lack family stability,” Lancaster said. “At (DJFS), it’s equally frustrating to find placement for youth in their teen years.”
In the new program, evidence-based assessments will be used to identify the areas of need of the child, said Gil-Lana Mitchell, who does juvenile intake for the court and will serve as the liaison between organizations for the program.
“We can then develop a plan for the youth and family and help them achieve their goals and address their existing barriers. We are very excited for this opportunity to pull together our efforts to best serve the youth and families in this community," Mitchell said. “What we all want is for the children and families of Clark County to know is that someone is willing to work with them to help make positive changes.”