Wayne County to join Northeast Nebraska Juvenile Justice Partnership
In Tuesday morning's meeting of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners, board members heard from two individuals involved in the Northeast Nebraska Juvenile Justice Partnership and Norfolk Family Coalition.
Both Sherry Peterson, cheif juvenile officer for Madison County, and Donna Benson, Connected Youth coordinator, had a chance to speak with the commissioners regarding a plan that could include Wayne County.
Several counties make up a group that utilizes grants available to them through the Crime Coalition to aid young people through any number of problems and situations. Funds for Wayne County total over $32,000 for 2017. Peterson and Benson encouraged commissioners to agree to join the group so they could better utilize the funds.
By being involved in the partnership, each county is responsible for splitting the adminstrative costs, which is the salary of an adminstrative assistant in Madison split between the nine counties included.
That grant money also covers the cost of Benson spending 15 hours working in Wayne and Wayne County each week -- whether that would be setting up after school programs, helping a student get transportation to and from school or extracurriculars among other things.
Benson currently has contacts in Wayne County from working through another grant, where most recently she aided a Wayne State College student with tuition and helped that student obtain a copies of their social security card and birth certificates. She is already aquainted with the local school's guidance counselors and TRIO at Wayne State.
Benson only services Madison, Stanton, Pierce and Wayne counties, so her time wouldn't be further divide between any additional counties.
After those expenditures, over $12,000 remains for the county to decide what to do with, be that helping pay for the diversion program already set up, adding mental health services and paying for prescriptions for students who may not have any or adequate health insurance, among a myriad of other options.
Once Mike Pieper, county attorney, expressed his feelings on the partnership as being positive, commenting that it was a "good deal" because for Wayne to utilize those funds alone, the county would need to add at least one new position, if not more, and that grant wouldn't cover salaries plus the programs, commissioners agreed the partnership was something they'd like Wayne County to be part of.
The commissioners voted unanimously to join the partnership and agreed that a meeting at a later date to discuss where the community's and county's needs lay was important.
To read the full story on the commissioner's meeting, pick up a copy of this week's Wayne Herald.