Juvenile Court seeks new position

LIMA — If Tuesday’s red-eyed morning meeting with the Allen County Commissioners is a good indicator, the Allen County Juvenile Court will be adding a staff position soon.

Probate Juvenile Administrator Berlin Carroll presented the commissioners his best sales pitch during the 8 a.m. meeting for funding to create the position of Behavioral Health Navigator. He said it appeared too good to pass up since the county’s investment would be fully reimbursable by the Mental Health and Recovery Board.

Carroll explained the position as one that fills the gaps in many different areas that commonly accompany the county’s youth who find themselves in the system.

“Some of the responsibilities would include working in the mental health program at the detention center with Dr. Tom Hull to address the mental health side of the juvenile court system,” Berlin explained. “The individual would operate primarily with community control, probation and diversion cases and provide diagnostic services and help make referrals.”

Commissioner Cory Noonan questioned Carroll, Juvenile Court Judge Todd E. Kohlreiser and Mental Health Board and Recovery CEO Tammie Colon with several pointed questions about what could happen if the grant weren’t renewed after the first year.

Noonan was told the group has been doing the work for several years. Since it is a locally awarded grant it would be far more sustainable and likely to continue. However, Carroll conceded had it ultimately came to a point the award were no longer available, he and Kohlreiser would have to have a “tough discussion to see where cuts would need to be made” if they couldn’t convince commissioners at that time to renew the program.

By the end of the meeting the commissioners stopped short of approving the request, but both commissioners Beth Seibert and Brian Winegardner joined Noonan with complimentary statements about the proposal.

Carroll told commissioners he would make a contingent offer to an individual the group had targeted for the position. The person hired must be an Independent Licensed Social Worker as soon as tomorrow. If the contingent offer were to be accepted he would then once again present it to the commissioners.

The funding request Carroll and Colon brought to the commissioners was to run from July 1 thru June 30, however, the group acquiesced to the request it be moved in line with the county’s preferred fiscal year of January 1 thru December 31, 2022.

“The meeting was very productive,” Carroll said. “The county has been good to us and all three commissioners are fantastic people. I can’t say enough about them and how seriously they take their job — they are the right questions because they truly want what is best for the people of the county.”

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By Joe Gilroy

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