Clark County Juvenile Court to receive $750,000 grant for youth treatment program

The Clark County Juvenile Court building. Bill Lackey/Staff
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The Clark County Juvenile Court building. Bill Lackey/Staff

Clark County’s juvenile court was awarded $750,000 in federal grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice for the county’s youth treatment program.

This is the first year that the Clark County Juvenile Court was awarded the four-year grant, specifically meted out by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program.

“We were really surprised, and pleasantly so,” said Clark County Juvenile Court judge Katrina Lancaster.

Lancaster told the News-Sun that the grant will fund the support services for the program’s drug court portion, with the first year of funding primarily focusing on assessing the juvenile court’s programming.

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In the second, third, and fourth year of funding, money will go toward services such as family functional therapy, for example, which is the “gold standard” approach to managing at-risk families, Lancaster said, and it involves intensive in-home therapy with a mental health professional who works with both the child and the family.

The grant funding will also increase the court’s capacity to assess at-risk youth, allowing it to look into treatment options for young people with substance use disorders.

“The drug problem is pervasive throughout the country, and Ohio certainly hasn’t escaped that,” Lancaster said.

The funding also extends to bolstering the youth treatment program’s capacity to partner with short-term respite services for families.

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Lancaster said that when kids are coming into the juvenile court with substance use disorders, parents often voice frustration and difficulty over managing certain behaviors their child is displaying. What the court doesn’t want is a disruption in the family, she said.

“When you have a child who is addicted, it can be very stressful on the family,” Lancaster said. “So giving the family the ability, rather than placing them in a detention facility, to place them in a respite facility, so their needs can be met for a weekend. Family can get a break, youth can get a break.”

The Board of Commissioners of Clark County accepted a grant agreement for the funding at its Nov. 17 meeting.

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