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Youth Justice Innovation Grant Would Fund New Specialized Social Worker

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08/12/2019- A new state grant would mean more at-risk children and teens in our area could receive the treatment they need right here in our community. Quinn Hansen, Child and Family Services Manager with Marinette County Health and Human Services is pursuing a $150000 Youth Justice Innovation Grant to fund an additional social worker position in the county who would focus solely on juveniles who might otherwise be placed at an alternative high-cost facility in the state. Hansen says the number of youths requiring secure detentions in Wisconsin is actually decreasing, while the amount being spent by counties for this remains the same. He believes addressing their issues closer to home will not only lower the county’s expenses, but also reduce recidivism.
“One thing that we find is that about 70% of youths who are sent to secure detention return to secure detention or adult jail within a year.”
Health and Human Services Director Robin Elsner says the money could also be used for electronic monitoring and to enhance the mental health and AODA programming that’s available to allow these youths to be treated locally.
Marinette County has spent more than $300000 annually in recent years in juvenile corrections costs. If the County is selected for the initial grant, Hansen says they’d also be eligible to receive $50000 every year to maintain the new programming thereafter.

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