Juvenile Resource Center on the way for Clinton County


WILMINGTON — Clinton County Juvenile Court is behind a planned start-up of a Juvenile Resource Center, meant to be a central hub to connect at-risk youths and their families with community-based services.

“Our goal is to provide Parent Project, in coordination with Talbert House Prevention Services, in August. Next, we hope to implement GED classes, in coordination with Southern State Community College Adult Opportunity Center, starting this fall,” said Clinton County Juvenile Court Chief Probation Officer Deanne Whalen.

There’s a youth piece to the parenting classes called the Parent Project, noted Whalen.

There are a number of Ohio counties of varying sizes that have Resource Centers. Moreover, there is an initiative by the state for such operations, she said.

Basically, the push is for continuing to de-institutionalize juvenile justice so that juvenile detention facilities are utilized less and community-based services are used more, said Whalen.

The ultimate goal, she said, is to avoid sending low- to moderate-risk kids to detention facilities, and instead “try to get folks back on track in lieu of coming into the formal court system.”

When the Resource Center initially opens, youth may be referred there by law enforcement who deal with unruly juveniles, as well as referrals by parents, juvenile court probation staff, or as a result of the juvenile court’s Diversion Program or formal court intervention.

“As we get a handle on the process, we plan [later] to accept referrals from our schools,” said Whalen.

Beyond the Parent Project and GED classes, “everything is evolving as we move forward. We will likely add one element at a time. … We plan to ease into this in order to increase the likelihood of success,” she said.

Those additional things coming later may include life skills, cooking, how to get and keep a job, budgeting skills, possibly some after-school tutoring, and moving on down the road maybe a day program for youth.

Funding for the Resource Center is through Competitive Reclaim and Subsidy Grant dollars from the Ohio Department of Youth Services. Funding for a part-time service liaison, a job expected to be posted this week, is through the Mental Health Recovery Board Serving Warren & Clinton Counties.

The service liaison will play a central part in connecting juveniles with services by assessing their risk and needs, and in determining which route the youths need to take.

The life needs of the families, such as housing and food, are also relevant.

“If we can plug them in with local providers for those things as well, that’s the desire to look at the whole family,” said Whalen.

The service liaison is expected to help hasten the delivery of services, say for mental health or substance abuse services for youth, which presently can take months, according to Whalen.

“This person [service liaison] is going to take the family’s hands and the provider’s hands and kind of link them and make it as easy as possible,” she said.

The age range for the majority of juveniles who will be served by the Resource Center is anticipated to be from 12 to 18, but there are a lot of variables, said Whalen, and the age could be as low as 8 or up to 21.

Location of the Resource Center will be announced later.

“We’re very encouraged and excited. I think it’s going to be pretty neat,” Whalen said of the new community venture.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

From left are Clinton County Juvenile Court Chief Fiscal Officer Kari Cunningham and Clinton County Juvenile Court Chief Probation Officer Deanne Whalen.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/06/web1_juvy_c-1.jpgFrom left are Clinton County Juvenile Court Chief Fiscal Officer Kari Cunningham and Clinton County Juvenile Court Chief Probation Officer Deanne Whalen. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal
It will connect at-risk youths with local services

By Gary Huffenberger

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