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Archive for Tuesday, October 12, 1999

COUNTY QUESTIONS PROPOSAL FOR FUNDING TROUBLED YOUTH

October 12, 1999

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The Douglas County Commission discussed funding for troubled juveniles during Monday's meeting.

Douglas County commissioners put off a decision Monday on how the county will deal with its troubled youth next year.

The commissioners still had questions after being presented the 7th Judicial District Comprehensive Strategic Plan, a proposal for how $833,875 will be spent. The proposal would need to be approved by the State Juvenile Justice Authority.

The commissioners wanted to know if enough resources were being directed to the young people in Baldwin, Eudora and Lecompton, and they wondered aloud if too much money was being spent on too few.

"It looks like we've got so many people doing the same thing for the same group," said Commissioner Tom Taul.

Pam Weigand, director of the Douglas County Department of Youth Services, said that although some young people were served by several programs, the programs were not the same.

"In my mind they are different kinds of service," Weigand said. "I think we address the needs of our kids pretty well."

This is the first year the funds have been allocated in this way. The judicial district's priorities were determined by a planning group that met in the fall of 1998.

The planning group identified the top three risk factors affecting youth in Douglas County. They are early and persistent antisocial behavior, family management and family conflict, and availability of drugs/early initiation of problem behavior.

Weigand said the social service and educational agencies in the county all were invited to apply for the funding. Their applications were judged on how well they addressed the three risk factors.

Chosen for prevention funding were Street Smart to be initiated by the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence; Mother to Mother of Douglas County; Kansas University's Truancy Prevention and Diversion Program; Lawrence schools Junior High Prevention Program; and Van Start through the Van Go Arts Program.

Funds would be allocated to intervention through Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and its Working to Recognize Alternative Possibilities program; Court Appointed Special Advocate juvenile program; Community Living Opportunities; DCCCA's juvenile outpatient treatment program; Citizen Review Board's juvenile program; and Douglas County Day Detention School.

Funds also will be dedicated for Douglas County Youth Services' core programs.

Jones said he wanted to know how many children needed programing and how many program slots there were to go around.

"I'd like a little better sense about the big picture," Jones said. "How do we know we're using the programs efficiently?"

Weigand said the question would be hard to answer, but she would try to answer it before Wednesday, when the commission will take up the topic again.

-- Kendrick Blackwood's phone message number is 832-7221. His e-mail address is kblackwood@ljworld.com.

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