Innovative Community Partnerships: Kentucky's Statewide Delinquency Prevention Councils.

Author:Kelly, Ralph E.
Position:CT Feature

Addressing juvenile delinquency through early intervention and prevention is not earth-shattering, nor is it a complicated principle. Less Hype, More Help: Reducing Juvenile Crime, What Works and What Doesn't, by Richard Mendel, an independent writer, researcher and consultant, found that a number of innovative prevention programs have been developed and have proved to be successful. Mendel's report goes on to state that a number of promising programs also have reduced the number of youths who re-offend. Early childhood, school-based prevention and conflict resolution programs are some strategies that have produced impressive results.

In 1998, Kentucky developed an innovative program to promote delinquency prevention and collaboration of community efforts. With support from the General Assembly, Kentucky's Delinquency Prevention and Community Partnership Initiative was established and with the assembly's authorization, the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) formed eight local juvenile delinquency prevention councils.

Council members work together to define problem areas in the community, such as truancy or substance abuse, and identify community programs that can provide services for these problems and award grants for programs, including community education, community ministries, schools and boys and girls clubs.

The eight delinquency prevention councils exist in 11 counties: Boone/Kenton/Campbell, Daviess/Henderson, and Fayette, Hardin, Hopkins, Jefferson, McCracken and Warren. The counties' juvenile arrest rates represent the majority in Kentucky. According to the most recent commonwealth of Kentucky crime report (1999), Crime in Kentucky, total crime arrests were 273,661 in 1999. Juveniles accounted for 11,496 of those arrests (4.2 percent). The top five crimes committed by juveniles are larceny theft (except auto), narcotics/drugs, burglary, disorderly conduct and vandalism.

Purpose and Mission

Delinquency prevention councils address juvenile justice issues at state and local levels. They provide a forum for the development of a community-based, interagency assessment of the local juvenile justice system. Council members meet to discuss community juvenile delinquency issues. The purpose of the council is to:

* Pinpoint problem areas in the community, such as truancy, substance abuse and vandalism;

* Develop a three-year plan to address these needs;

* Enter into written local interagency agreements that specify the nature and extent of contributions that each signatory agency will make in achieving the goals of the local juvenile justice plan;

* Apply and receive public or private grants to be administered by a local unit of government or DJJ that support one or more components of the local juvenile justice plan;

* Share information, as authorized by law, to carry out the interagency agreements;

* Provide a forum for the presentation of interagency recommendations and the resolution of disagreements relating to the contents of the interagency agreement or the performance by the parties of their respective obligations under the...

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