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Keeping Troubled Ohio Kids from Diving Deeper into the System

New initiative is expected to keep about 800 troubled young people in Ohio out of detention. (xandert/morguefile)
New initiative is expected to keep about 800 troubled young people in Ohio out of detention. (xandert/morguefile)
May 9, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio is stepping up its efforts to reform the state's juvenile justice system and give troubled young people a second shot.

The state announced $1.6 million in grants for nearly two dozen counties through the Department of Youth Services' Detention Alternatives and Enhancements Initiative.

Coordinator Regina Lurry explains the money will be used to create evening assessment and reporting centers, crisis shelters, and respite services to help put young, nonviolent offenders on the right path.

"Maybe a domestic violence situation in the home, maybe a runaway, unruly child, something of that nature," says Lurry. "They can get the assessments that they need, and treatment and help started earlier on, and that may divert them from moving further into the system."

She adds these alternatives will keep about 800 young people from detention over the next year.

Funding will also be used for building enhancements and improved programming and treatment within juvenile facilities changes that will benefit about 4,200 kids in detention.

Lurry says Ohio communities are showing great interest in juvenile justice reforms at the local level, with 53 counties sending in proposals for this new funding.

"If we had more money, we would have liked to funded more proposals," says Lurry. "With the strong amount of proposals that we did fund, we think they'll make a great impact. So, it's just a way for us to help and support some of their efforts to get better results for the young people that they serve in their communities."

Ohio partnered with the Annie E. Casey Foundation to launch the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative in 2010, and has since been working on advancing practices and policies that deter deeper justice involvement for youth.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH