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Posted on: September 29, 2020

Juvenile Court, DJFS to launch new program for dually involved youth

The Clark County Juvenile Court building in downtown Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD, OH (9-29-20) — The Clark County Juvenile Court in collaboration with the Clark County Department of Job and Family Services is launching a new program this week designed to address the needs of critically at-risk children who are involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

The Dually Involved Youth program will launch with a live event to be held online at the Clark County Juvenile Court Facebook page at noon Thursday, Oct. 1. The court was one of two counties in Ohio awarded a technical assistance grant by the Ohio Supreme Court in July of 2019 to develop the initiative under the guidance of the Robert F. Kennedy Resource Center for Justice. 

“We are grateful for the opportunity provided by the Ohio Supreme Court and the collaboration of our many community partners to develop an initiative for this critically at risk group of youth,” said Clark County Juvenile Court Judge Katrine Lancaster. “Our success will provide a safer and healthier community.” 

Studies show youth involved in both systems typically have an earlier onset of delinquent behavior. About two-thirds of those children enter the foster care system and need mental health services due to behavior problems. The youth also have poor permanency outcomes and substantially higher out-of-home placements, including longer and more frequent detention stays. 

As a result, both systems spend more resources on this population than youth involved with one system. In Clark County, youth will be treated as dually involved youth when they enter the juvenile justice system with new charges and currently have an open case or become involved with the child welfare system within 30 days of receiving their charge. 

The court will collaborate with several partners as part of the program, including Clark County DJFS, the Clark County Family and Children First Council, the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office, the Clark County Public Defender’s Office, the Mental Health & Recover Board of Clark, Greene and Madison Counties, the Springfield City School District and the Clark County Educational Service Center. Data shows better outcomes happen when there is community collaboration in addressing the needs of these critically at-risk youth. The goal of the program is to create better outcomes for the youth, improve public safety in the community and create financial savings for the adult criminal system.

“We look forward to continuing, strengthening, and expanding our community partnerships to give all Clark County children the opportunity to heal, thrive and succeed,” said Clark County Department of Job and Family Services Director Virginia Martycz. 

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Media contact: Michael Cooper, Clark County Public Information Officer, 937-521-2031

Media contact: Judge Katrine Lancaster, Clark County Juvenile Court, 937-521-1611

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