Editor’s Note: The article, “New County Office Needed in Shift To Community-Based Probation Services” in last week’s, January 8th Minden Courier featured Kearney County’s recent purchase of additional office space to accommodate expanding probation services created in part by the Nebraska juvenile justice reform law passed in 2013. This article features some of the program changes that will be happening in Kearney County, some as a result of legislative reforms and others because of grant funds and the expanded space the county now has available.
Changes created in the juvenile justice system when Governor Dave Heineman signed Legislative Bill 561 into law last summer are starting to impact services offered in Kearney County. The Kearney County Board of Supervisors finalized the purchase of the office building at 528 North Minden Street in Minden on January 7. The county attorney office and the probation district will be utilizing some of the new county office space for their programs and services.
Kearney County Attorney Melodie Bellamy said that prior to LB561, juveniles who committed offenses were placed in the care of the Office of Juvenile Services in the Health and Human Services Department (HHS). Now that office is gone and the Office of Probation is stepping into that role.
“Probation will be providing some pre-ajudication services now. Previously HHS was responsible for everything up to ajudication,” Bellamy explained. “Now HHS will still be in charge of abused and neglected children, but all of the juveniles that are criminal or status offenders will shift to probation immediately.”
For more read the Jan. 15th Courier