Work by the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Probation Administration has begun on the implementation of legislation designed to provide needed services for juveniles and families who are in the juvenile court system.
LB 985 (Nebraska Juvenile Service Delivery Project) was signed by the Governor on April 5, 2012. The legislation expands a very successful project that was piloted in Douglas County to the 11th and 12th Judicial Districts. Thus, the Project will operate in the southwestern portion of the state, the panhandle and in Omaha.
The probation system, part of the judicial branch of government, collaborated with the Department of Health and Human Services in 2009 to create a new way to provide access to services for juveniles on probation.
This innovative approach enables juveniles to remain in their homes while receiving services and reduce the need for supervision by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The goal of the Nebraska Juvenile Service Delivery Project is to meet the rehabilitative needs of juveniles in the least intrusive, least restrictive manner while maintaining the safety of the juvenile and the community.
During his State of the Judiciary speech to the Legislature earlier this year, Chief Justice Mike Heavican called the Juvenile Service Delivery Project “both efficient and effective.”
The effort has resulted in juveniles receiving rehabilitative services without being made wards of the State in order to access those services. It has significantly reduced the duplication of state resources within the juvenile justice system. The Nebraska Juvenile Service Delivery Project has been strongly supported by Nebraska Voices for Children and other child advocacy organizations.
“Probation will work with the judiciary, DHHS and community providers for juvenile services in the western part of the state to assist in the implementation of this project” said Corey Steel, current director for the pilot program for the Office of Probation Administration. “We are looking forward to providing the court with timely access to quality services with the hope of keeping more juveniles in their family homes on both ends of the state.”