Juvenile-Probate Courts’ Judge Frederick “Fritz” Hany II and Ottawa County Job and Family Services will continue their collaboration with The Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice. This program streamlines services to local youth and families who find themselves in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
“The Ottawa County collaboration of youth serving agencies has done an extraordinary job over the past year to develop an innovative approach that addresses their most vulnerable, marginalized and challenging population of youth and families,” said John Tuell, Executive Director of the RFK Juvenile Justice Resource Center.
The complexity of the situations that face the youth involved in both systems can be challenging not only for their families but also for one agency to deal with on its own.
For that reason, the Dual Status Youth initiative was created and will prove to be invaluable as each family situation is unique. Director Stephanie Kowal of Ottawa County Job and Family Services, said that “research shows dual status youth present distinctive challenges requiring new and different ways to manage their cases, as compared to juveniles without dual-system connections.”
“These youth experience troubling and costly life trajectories that often involve future criminal justice involvement, education failure, and absence of gainful employment,” said Executive Director Tuell.
Over the past couple of months, Judge Hany and the Ottawa County Court has identified several youth and their families who may benefit from this collaboration.
“Having spent so much of my professional career working in the adult justice system, my primary concern is to focus our efforts and resources toward keeping our youth out of the adult system,” said Judge Hany. “I believe that this Dual Status Youth initiative will guide our agencies toward that goal.”