MAHONING JUVENILE COURT Judge eyes building for two programs



The building is appraised at $310,000.
By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
VINDICATOR HEALTH WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County Juvenile Judge Theresa Dellick has looked at a building owned by the county Mental Health Board as a possible location for two Juvenile Justice Center programs for adolescents.
In order to serve the community and keep those programs going, another site that is not at the JJC is needed, said Eva Burris, court administrator.
"Unfortunately, we have more children to serve, and the answer is not to lock them up, but to work with families and keep everybody safe," Burris said.
The two JJC programs are its Day Reporting Program, presently at the Youngstown Youth Academy on Commonwealth Avenue; and within the JJC detention center, the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Program.
The Day Reporting Program, conducted in partnership with the United Methodist Community Center which does case management and provides other services, is from after school until 9 p.m. and all day Saturday.
The REST program is done in partnership with the Neil Kennedy Recovery Center. It is the only six-month substance abuse program for youth in a court in Ohio, and one of only 10 in the nation, Burris said.
Both programs have enabled JJC to get reclaim dollars, which are incentives given by the state to encourage alternative sentencing in the community. Right now, the court is eligible to get $220,000, and next year the amount will be $440,000, Burris said.
Site needed
The court needs a site in which to contain all these programs, which at this point are for males only.
"We need to expand our programs to include young women," said Burris; this is one of the reasons the court is looking for more space.
"We are not anywhere near to making a decision, but we have looked at the mental health board's building. It is of interest to Judge Dellick because it is already a county-owned building," Burris said.
Ronald Marian, mental health board executive director, said the building, located beside the former Woodside Hospital, now houses the mental health board's Community Action Program for seniors.
"Our program has gotten smaller and there is room for it at the Turning Point Counseling Center on Belmont Avenue," Marian said at the board's meeting Thursday.
The board would like to sell the building, which is appraised at $310,000. Part of the facility would have to be renovated for residential use, Marian said.
"I'm trying to work it out with Judge Dellick," he said, but the eventual decision lies with the mental health board, which holds title to the building.
Also, Marian said the board is able to sell the building without seeking competitive bids if it is used for mental health purposes. If it was used otherwise, the title would revert back to the board, he said.
alcorn@vindy.com

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