FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 2/11/2016
Contact: Cozetta Jones, Communications Director
COUNTY APPROVES $30,000 INCREASE FOR JUVENILE COUNSELING SERVICES
Little Rock – Through conservative projections and effective management of taxpayer dollars, Pulaski County carried over funds from 2015. County Judge, Barry Hyde and County Comptroller, Mike Hutchens recommended to the Quorum Court’s Ways and Means Committee, and it approved on Tuesday, to allow $30,000 to go to the Juvenile Detention Center to increase their counseling contract funding.
“With our kids, there appears to be a great need to address areas such as impulse control, conflict resolution, decision making and anger management,” said Pulaski County Juvenile Detention Center Director, Carma Gardner. “Our therapy and rehabilitation component aims to address the unique needs of the youth, both emotional and behavioral,” she said.
Currently the 48-bed facility has a contract with a licensed certified social worker (LCSW). The contract allows the social worker 10 hours per week, one hour per youth. The social worker will “triage” each youth and those who need immediate attention are seen first. Gardner said some are court ordered to receive counseling while they are in detention so the social worker must manage those 10 hours to accommodate the court orders.
“Ten hours is not enough time to reach all of our kids,” said Gardner. “With this additional funding we will have the opportunity to expand programming in the center, make programming more consistent and impact a larger percentage of the youth while they are detained.”
Approximately 771 youth were detained in 2015 with an average length of stay being 14 days. The average age of youth who are detained in the Juvenile Detention Center is 16.
“The services that the juvenile center provides are invaluable to reducing our recidivism rate and improving youth development outcomes,” said County Judge Barry Hyde. “We want to do what we can, while we have them, to support reentry and prevent reincarceration into the Juvenile Detention Center—or worse the County Jail.”
In addition to the committee approved funds, Pulaski County Youth Services was able to secure a $10,000 grant from the Department of Human Services – Division of Youth Services. The funding will go toward alcohol and drug prevention services to be provided by the Juvenile Detention Center in collaboration with Youth Services.
“Pulaski County Youth Services is excited about our collaborative partnership with the Pulaski County Juvenile Detention Center,” said Youth Services Director, Jamie Scott. “This grant provides us with the unique opportunity to extend our scope of influence to a larger population of youth in Pulaski County. I believe we both share a common goal and vision to improve the lives of Pulaski County youth.”