Staff members of the Nebraska Crime Commission Juvenile Services Division held a meeting Friday at the Chase County Courthouse to discuss the Juvenile Diversion Program with Chase County employees. Pictured from left are Arlan Wine, Chase County Attorney; Julia Maddux, part-time secretary for the county attorney’s office; and Cynthia Kennedy, Chief, Community Aid Juvenile Services Division from Lincoln. (Johnson Publications photo)

County considers being lead entity for juvenile diversion program

    The community-based Juvenile Services Aid Program, located at the Nebraska Crime Commission in Lincoln, provides funding to Nebraska counties for programs to divert youths from the juvenile justice system, and reduce the population of juveniles in detention.
    The funds are available through an application process. Funding requests are decided by a juvenile services community team and the county board of commissioners.
    On Friday morning, three representatives from the Juvenile Services Division in Lincoln were on hand at the Chase County Courthouse to discuss the Juvenile Diversion Program and explain the responsibilities of becoming the lead county managing funds for a six-county area.
    The staff members here from Lincoln were Amy Hoffman, Director, Juvenile Diversions Programs Division; Cynthia Kennedy, Chief, Community Aid Juvenile Services Division; and Teri King, financial grants monitor.
    For several years, Red Willow County has been the lead county managing funds and coordinating a juvenile diversion program for Chase, Dundy, Furnas, Hayes and Hitchcock Counties.
    Red Willow County officials decided to discontinue that management role.
    “This meeting is an educational opportunity for Chase County employees to learn about the responsibilities and options in replacing Red Willow as the lead county,” Kennedy said.
    The Juvenile Services Aid Program has been in existence since 2001 with an available amount of $1.5 million at that time.
    The passage of LB 561 in 2013, a juvenile justice reform bill, increased available funds to $6.7 million for the program.
    “The plan currently focuses on enhancing the diversion program and implementing a truancy program,” Kennedy explained.

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