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Douglas County Youth Center had just completed a major renovation and addition to the current facility located at 1301 S. 41st Street in 1999 when the population reached and exceeded the rated capacity of 144. In an effort to help reduce the capacity, the Youth Center developed an alternative to detention program. This program is known as the H.O.M.E. Program an acronym for Home On Monitoring Equipment. The program commenced in April of 2001.

The dynamics of the program consist of each participant wearing an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet and daily face-to-face visits by a H.O.M.E. program staff member. The youth is required to attend school or an alternative school program. The H.O.M.E. program staff act as liaison with the family, school, court or special program activity that the youth has been court ordered to participate in. This helps to provide stability and consistency that benefit the youth while on the program. Progress reports are provided to the court by the H.O.M.E. program staff.

Juvenile offenders who are under the care and custody of the Youth Center, as well as a Douglas County Court (juvenile or adult) may be eligible for the H.O.M.E. Program. Eligibility is determined by using the Youth Center classification system, an interview with the youth and their legal guardian, and a court order. It is important to recognize that a Judge may deem someone eligible for the H.O.M.E. program, however, it is at the discretion of the H.O.M.E. program staff to determine if a youth is placed on the program or not. Some of the criteria used in determining if a youth is accepted into the program include their very low risk to community safety, a working telephone at their residence and must not be an immediate risk to suicide as deemed by the mental health risk assessment used by the Youth Center and the on-site psychologist’s recommendation. The youth and his family must sign a contract agreeing to abide by the H.O.M.E. Program rules and understand that failure to comply with the rules could result in placement back at the Youth Center. Random drug testing is done on all youth while on the program

The intent of the program is to provide supervision between court hearings while allowing the youth to remain at home. The youth often times remains on the H.O.M.E. program while the court determines appropriate placement that could include placement outside of their home. This process usually takes 60 – 90 days. The current caseload for the program is 25 although with increased staffing there is an opportunity to add more youth to the program.

This program not only helps reduce the overall capacity of youth in secure detention but is also a cost saving program. This program helps keep youth at home pending their awaiting court process. It is highly monitored by staff and equipment used provides a cost savings to the tax payers of Douglas County. Currently, a mixture of federal grant dollars and Douglas County tax dollars funds this program.

If you need more information, please contact the program director.

 

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