Douglas County should create a special agency for juveniles currently being served by Douglas County Community Corrections, its advisory panel recommended on Wednesday.
``I think it's a good idea,'' said Douglas County Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney Tonkovich. ``I think we are moving toward centralized juvenile services anyway.''
Tonkovich, a member of the Douglas County Community Corrections Advisory Board, was one of six members of the board who favors creating a special agency for juvenile offenders in the county.
Douglas County Sheriff Loren Anderson was the only member of the board who said he didn't favor the idea.
``I haven't gotten a clear reason to do this,'' he said. ``Why are we wanting to fix this if it's not broken?''
Representatives from the Lawrence Police Department and Douglas County District Judge Jean Shepherd were neutral.
The recommendation will be forwarded to the Douglas County Commission, which ultimately will decide whether to create the new agency.
Douglas County Community Corrections provides court-ordered supervised service projects, substance abuse treatment, counseling, job searches, education and other services for those on probation.
The program serves about 120 adults and 65 juveniles.
Under the proposal, the new juvenile service would operate out of the Northeast Kansas Juvenile Detention Center in North Lawrence, said Pam Weigand, director of the center.
``What we need is a one-stop shop, versus having families try to find out which agency they need to go to,'' she said.
The name of the detention center likely would be changed if it becomes a home for a new juvenile community corrections agency.
The idea to create a separate, county agency for juveniles followed the creation by the 1997 Legislature of the Kansas Juvenile Justice Authority.
-- Mike Dekker's phone message is 832-7187. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.