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Date Posted: 08/16/2017

DHS Youth Services Awards $1.85M in Juvenile Justice Innovation Grants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Brandi Hinkle, Deputy Chief of Communications
Arkansas Department of Human Services  
501-350-5380 mobile or brandi.hinkle@dhs.arkansas.gov

DHS Youth Services Awards $1.85M in Juvenile Justice Innovation Grants

The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Youth Services (DYS) has announced its intent to award $1.85 million in Juvenile Justice Innovation Grants to 12 nonprofit groups across the state that are working with judges in their communities, as it seeks to improve services for youth and families involved in the juvenile justice system. 

The purpose of the grants is to find and test new alternatives to confinement as well as ways to keep youth from getting into trouble. Services funded through the grants must reduce use of detention or commitment to DYS facilities, reduce lengths of stay, prevent recidivisim, or provide enhanced aftercare and transition services. 

The organizations that received an intent to award cover 24 of the state's 28 judicial districts. The grants are funded through State General Revenue and will provide for programs to run Oct. 1 through September 30, 2018, with an option to extend for another year. DYS plans to release an additional competive opportunity for grant funding later this year to cover the remaining districts. 

"If we can keep kids on the right path to making good decisions, instilling positive values and developing healthy relationships," said DYS Director Betty Guhman, "there's a much better chance they'll make it to adulthood without becoming part of the system.

"These grants are about finding innovative ways to do that. In the grant applications we've seen, they're looking to offer therapy through online portals, more hands-on activities to keep kids busy and out of trouble. Some of the proposals are specific to ways to intervene for girls versus boys," Guhman continued, "with self-esteem building programs targeting youth who are in dangerous situations or have a lack of adult supervision, kids who are at-risk of committing criminal activities that bring them to us. We want to prevent them from ever entering the juvenile justice system.
Services paid for by the grant are primarily directed toward youth but are also available for family members, if such services reduce the risk of delinquent behavior in the youth in question. Funding for services were awarded based on the following four criteria: innovation; collaboration; effectiveness; and replicability.

Awardees, their respective judicial districts and total include:
• Comprehensive Juvenile Services – 12, 18W, 21; $200,000
• Consolidated Youth Services – 2, 3; $200,000
• Conway County Community Services – 5, 15, 20; $145,952
• Counseling Clinic – 22; $80,000
• East Arkansas Youth Services – 1; $150,000
• Girl Scouts Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas – 4, 6, 12, 18E, 19W, 20, 22; $52,718
• Ouachita Children’s Center – 9E, 18E; $120,000
• Phoenix Youth and Family Services – 10; $50,000
• Preferred Family Healthcare – 16, 17; $100,000
• Professional Counseling Associates – 23; $55,000
• United Family Services – 11E, 11W; $170,700
• Youth Bridge – 4, 14, 19E, 19W; $400,000

The organizations are expected to engage in collaborative partnerships with juvenile courts, school districts, other service providers, and government agencies to create effective ways of preventing youths from becoming part of the juvenile justice system.

On January 1, DYS took over the day-to-day operations of seven of the state's eight residential treatment facilities for youth adjudicated to the juvenile justice system. As a result of intensive monitoring, DYS recently released an action plan based on agency reviews to improve education, behavioral and mental health services for youth, and new ways to fund treatment for youth at its eight residential centers. Link to the entire action plan below.

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Link to action plan here.

 

Arkansas Department
of Human Services
(501) 682-1001

TTY: 1-800-285-1131 or dial 711 for Arkansas Relay Service

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