MADISON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA) — More services are being added to the Madison County juvenile system to help kids stay out of court.
Judge Stacey Zimmerman hears roughly 30 to 40 juvenile cases in Madison County each day.
A $15,000 grant from the Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts could cut down on those numbers.
That money will go towards services like a class called Creating Lasting Family Connections, which will run one night a week for nine weeks.
“We’ll be teaching families how to more appropriately communicate, and to help levels of stress in families so it doesn’t escalate,” Zimmerman said.
In addition, after-hours reporting for juveniles on probation will be possible thanks to a future part-time juvenile court probation officer.
“The purpose of the after-hours reporting is for the case manager to be available on random days to be able to meet with higher risk offenders or repeat offenders that have been in trouble with the law…to where they have a higher accountability and they’re having to meet with not just me on a regular basis, but then after-hours they’re having to meet with a case manager to go over goals,” said Niki Rowland, Madison County Juvenile Probation Officer.
Rowland spearheaded the grant funding, and applied on behalf of Madison County.
“We’re hoping eventually that will reduce repeat offenders, but also deter other youth from becoming involved in the juvenile justice system,” she said.
Judge Zimmerman says it’s also about the parents.
“Often we see parents who are at their wits end and they just need a little more help with their kids to get their kids on the right track. This grant will help us help parents and kids, so they wont come see us in juvenile court,” Zimmerman said.
The grant now heads to the quorum court for the approval of these services.