County Community Evaluation Team guides juveniles, parents to healthy relationships
Not all parents know how to talk to teen-agers, but there is a group who studies the language and needs of teen-agers so that when needed, the group is there usually after a juvenile has had a brush with the law.
The Moffat County Community Evaluation Team (CET) was created as a bridge between parents and teens and the court system and teens. Its mission is to provide services and resources to teens who have been through the court system. The goal of the team is to keep teens at home.
“We try and keep our kids from being in detention or committed,” CET Coordinator Christy Bevel said. “We’re here to provide services to juveniles in the community to keep them at home.”
The CET is a board made up of a cross-section of community members from various agencies including law enforcement, district attorneys, mental health, schools, social services and other people involved in the juvenile justice system. The board works to provide a unified approach to keeping juveniles in the community.
CET intervention is usually court-ordered. When a court recommends they do so, CET personnel hold a “staffing” an evaluation of the teen and a recommendation of the services needed. The staffing is done with parents. Generally, “juvenile staffings” each month in Moffat County result in seven to 15 active cases a month.
“We get the parents and the kids together and talk about the problems and about what services the community can provide,” Bevel said.
Most juveniles are recommended to CET by the courts but school officials, the probation department, law enforcement and mental health workers can also make recommendations.
CET offers six free family mediation sessions to families in crisis but does not go to the homes of prospective clients. In the mediation, CET members help parents set rules and attempt to establish communication between the parent and the juvenile.
“It’s not really a therapy or a counseling thing, it’s just having an extra person, a mediator,” Bevel said.
To get involved with CET, a parent or a juvenile must contact the police department which then pages a CET member.
One of the primary programs run by CET is the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT). The mission of the CIT is to provide intervention and mediation services to juveniles in conflict and to provide screening services to determine if a juvenile should be placed in secure detention for a violation of criminal law. Its primary goal is to keep a family together and keep the juvenile out of the justice system.
The CIT responds in crisis situations.
After one year and additional training, CIT members are eligible to become juvenile trackers. Tracking is a court-ordered alternative to detention. Youth tracking is designed to provide additional supervision in an effort to know where a juvenile is at all times. In the tracking program, juveniles must check in with a tracker at various times during the day and must get permission from the tracker for various activities.
“It’s a little more intense supervision then they would usually get,” Bevel said.
There are four Moffat County youth in the tracking program.
Bevel also wants to reinstate the “Toe the Line” program. The program started to provided supervision for juveniles doing community service projects. The problem is that sometimes community service doesn’t get done or new crimes are committed during community service work. The program would help prevent that and provide a mentor for juveniles.
The Community Evaluation Team works on a $70,000 to $75,000 annual budget. Its funding comes from the state, the county and the United Way.
For this week’s Hometown Hero, the Craig Press is pleased to honor Steve Walls.