Juvenile diversion program approved at Wayne County Commissioners meeting

Wayne County Commissioners approved a new juvenile diversion program and heard the Road Department's One and Six Year plan at Tuesday's meeting.

Wayne County Attorney Amy K. Miller and Northeast Nebraska Juvenile Justice Partnership Officer, Sherry Peterson came before the commissioners to request approval to use Community Based Juvenile Service funds to begin a diversion program for children aged 11-18. Other surrounding counties have had the same program, but Wayne County never used the grant money that funds the program.

"I was already familiar with the diversion program as the Deputy Pierce County Attorney," Miller said.

Miller began working with Peterson to begin Wayne's program. The hope is that juveniles can have an opportunity to get assistance to deter delinquency.

"A lot of times juveniles make mistakes, it doesn't necessarily mean they need to be adjudicated as a delinquent if they screw up," Miller said.

The program would provide support and structure for the juvenile and their families.

"Maybe they need some counseling or their family needs some support  or they need mental health services that have not been available to them. Sometimes when you adjudicate it's almost a self-fulfilling prophecy," Miller said. "You tell a kid that they're bad and that they're a delinquent, they're going to continue to be a delinquent  and if you can offer services to prevent that, why wouldn't you?"

Because the program is funded by grant money, Wayne County tax payers won't foot the bill for services offered.

The commissioners unanimously approved implementing the program and authorized Miller to get it up and running.

Mark Casey, Wayne County Highway Superintendent presented the commissioners with his One and Six Year roads plan. Casey said there were 26 projects on the One Year plan and 50 on the Six Year. Many of the projects on the One Year plan are already underway or in the planning stages according to Casey. He also told the commissioners that there were only a few projects from last year's One and Six Year plan, but that can be deceiving.

"It's not like we didn't get a lot of work done, we just got a lot of work done that didn't show up on the One and Six," Casey told the  commissioners.

Wayne Street and Planning Director Joel Hansen came before the commissioners to discuss a proposed subdivision along Centennial Road. Wayne Area Economic Development Director Luke Virgil talked about partnership between WAED and the County, and District Court Clerk Deb Allemann-Dannelly requested the commissioners move her discussion for replacement courtroom tables to the next meeting.

The next Wayne County Commissioners meeting will be on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 9 a.m. in the Wayne County Courtroom.

The Wayne Herald

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