Colfax County Attorney Denise Kracl gave county commissioners their first peek at the application she is preparing to seek a community-based juvenile services grant for 2018-19.
Kracl is requesting $38,709 in state funding, with most of that amount — about $34,000 — going toward the wages of a school truancy/juvenile diversion program officer, two positions held by the same person.
The county’s matching funds would be $4,301, bringing the total to $43,010, Kracl told the three-member board before its 3-0 vote to give preliminary approval to the application.
Once the grant request is approved, a decision is expected from the Nebraska Crime Commission around March, the county board will give its final OK on the matching amount.
“Colfax County is among the top three counties (in the state) with the fewest number of kids who come back into the juvenile justice system after going through diversion,” Kracl said.
The juvenile services and diversion programs have a goal of keeping kids in the classroom and out of the courtroom.
Colfax County's juvenile diversion program, started in 2008, serves about 40 to 50 youths annually. The number of juveniles who serve time in detention has been on a steady decline for more than five years.
The cost of youth detention, Kracl told the board, is $145 a day at the Northeast Nebraska Juvenile Detention Center in Madison.
In addition to the community-based grant request, Kracl also included an enhancement-based grant request to the commission seeking more than $13,000 in fringe benefit packages for the truancy/diversion officer.
The county's match would be $1,455.