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North Country Regional Youth Justice Team established

Photo by Thom Randall.

— The North Country Regional Youth Justice Team, one of eight established across the state as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s ongoing efforts to reform New York’s juvenile justice system, met for the first time in Lake Placid, bringing together key partners to begin discussing ways to improve outcomes and continue to reduce the number of youth who become involved in the system.

Representatives from county probation and social services departments, county attorneys’ offices, law enforcement and service providers from Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Franklin and Essex counties comprise the team, which met at the High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid. More than 35 agencies and organizations are participating in the initiative.

The team will seek broad community involvement in the state’s juvenile justice reform efforts and strengthen communication between state policy makers and local stakeholders, including service providers, advocates, the courts and law enforcement agencies. The state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the Office of the Governor’s Deputy Secretary for Public Safety are coordinating the teams.

“Under the Governor’s leadership, the state has taken significant steps to reform and improve its juvenile justice system by creating programs and an infrastructure that provide youth a path toward a productive, crime-free life,” DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green said. “These Regional Youth Justice Teams will provide local communities with an opportunity to have a real voice in those reform efforts and have a direct line of communication to state leaders who are making the decisions to improve the system.”

The teams will identify promising local practices and develop strategies to address a variety of issues, including: decreasing the number of children and youth referred to court; addressing disproportionate minority contact in the juvenile justice system; improving access to services; creating partnerships among the courts, local communities and state agencies in the development of community-based interventions; and responding to federal, state and private grant opportunities.

Representatives of agencies attending today’s meeting include The Children’s Home of Jefferson County; Departments of Social Services and Probation in Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Clinton, Franklin and Essex counties; and local law enforcement agencies, as well as the New York State Police.

Comprehensive statewide, county-level and regional juvenile justice data can be found at nysjjag.org/our-work/juvenile-justice-data.html.

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