LIMA — Allen County Children Services and Allen County Juvenile Court are working together to ensure that an efficient, coordinated response is given to young people who deal with both agencies.
Children Services is working to replace a vacant community advocate position with one who specifically works with these “dual system” children, a strategy director Cynthia Scanland hopes will make for an overall better experience for them.
“We’ve never had a case worker position that is dedicated solely to dual system kids,” she said. “This is the result of a collaboration between us and Juvenile Court. It’s the best and most efficient way to make sure that everyone’s on the same page as far as who’s providing what service, so there’s no duplication.”
Both Scanland and Juvenile Court director Berlin Carroll noted that this situation occurs frequently and that having a case worker familiar with both systems will meet a great need in the county.
“It’s very common for us to have youth that are involved with the juvenile justice system who are under some sort of supervision or are even in the care and custody of Allen County Children Services,” Carroll said. “To have a person who can understand both systems and can really help both agencies, as well as the family and youth involved, navigate both of those systems is crucial.”
Interviews for the position will begin soon, with both agencies having a hand in making the final decision.
“We have interviews set for the end of this month, and we’ll have a panel comprised of both child welfare staff and juvenile court,” Scanland said. “We have an interview list ready to go and our candidates are set.”
Ultimately, Scanland said, the goal is to have the needs of these youth met quickly so they can get out of the system and back to their daily lives.
“We want to get them out of detention or out of child welfare involvement as soon as possible,” she said. “That’s what’s best for them.”
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.