Sussex County Youth Services Commission Identifies Priority Needs for County Youth Release Date: November 10, 2008
Sussex County Youth Services Commission Identifies Priority Needs for County Youth
Back in the spring of this year the Sussex County Youth Services Commission (SCYSC) formed a planning sub-committee to begin the task of dissecting the 2009-2011 Comprehensive Youth Services plan provided by the Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC). Every three years the Youth Services Commission is asked to do a Comprehensive Plan and Application for funding. During the two off years the Juvenile Justice Commission asks for a plan update. The SCYSC planning committee first met in May to begin the process of completing the Comprehensive Plan.
The Comprehensive Plan includes seven main sections comprised of data and analysis questions specific to Sussex County youth. The seven sections are Delinquency Prevention, Diversion, Detention, Disposition, Re-Entry, Reducing Disproportionate Minority Contact with the Juvenile Justice System and Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities within the Juvenile Justice System and the County Vision of the Juvenile Justice Continuum.
Data is provided by the Juvenile Justice Commission, however additional information is encouraged. Statistics from 2003, 2005, and 2006 were used and most of the data came from the Administrative Office of the Courts. Throughout the process of completing the comprehensive plan some of the obstacles the committee faced were inaccurate data provided from the JJC regarding admissions to detention. Fortunately admission records are saved for several years and this problem could easily be solved. Once the admission numbers from the Detention Center were comprised, the committee found the JJC's numbers to be much higher than the Juvenile Detention Center numbers. Had the JJC's numbers not been questioned by some of the committee members, inaccurate reporting could have altered the comprehensive plan.
Each chapter of the comprehensive plan included a section at the end for recommendations. Based on each chapter's recommendations a county vision for programming was formed. The vision represents what your County's ideal continuum of care would look like, regardless of funding. Based on the vision, a list of priority programs was formed. Some of the recommendations, based on current programming and needs, were found to be: increased need for outpatient substance abuse treatment, inpatient substance abuse treatment, life skills program, an alternative to detention program, family crisis intervention unit, substance abuse evaluations and transportation.
These priority areas were then presented to the Sussex County Youth Services Commission as programs to be funded for 2009. The SCYSC approved funding for these programs at the September 17, 2008 meeting, at which point the Freeholders then approved the comprehensive plan and application for funding at their October 8, 2008 meeting. The JJC received copies of the plan and application on October 23, 2008 and now the SCYSC is waiting to hear back.