ST. JOSEPH PROBATE COURT

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The Juvenile Justice Center is a multi faceted facility which houses a variety of agencies that interact with the St. Joseph Probate Court, Probate Clerk, Juvenile Probation, Juvenile Detention,   CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Prosecutors Office, Public Defender's Office, Juvenile Justice Residential Program Day Reporting, Electronic Monitoring Program, Community Transition Program "Rebuilding the Walls", and  Central Academy.

PROGRAM INFORMATION:

  1. ST. JOSEPH PROBATE COURT
    handles all juvenile cases in the County concerning delinquency, abuse, neglect, dependency, adoptions, and the establishment of paternity.  The Court also has jurisdiction over wills, estates, and guardianships.  With the establishment of paternity, both parents will be ordered to attend an educational class about parenting and support.


  2. ST. JOSEPH PROBATE CLERK
    serves as Clerk of the Court for filing cases, and maintains the records of the Court.  The Clerk also collects support payments.


  3. JUVENILE PROBATION
    the Assessment/Diversion Team receives referrals from police agencies, parents, and schools.  After an intake screening, called a Preliminary Inquiry, the officer recommends and appropriate course of action.
    The Case Planning Team prepares a social history report, called a Pre-Dispositional, on adjudicated offenders and makes recommendations to the Court.  Juveniles placed on Probation are then supervised by the Case Management or Placement Case Management Teams.


  4. JUVENILE DETENTION
    provides both pre and post adjudication detention for persons under age 18 subject to the jurisdiction of the Court.  Juveniles detained undergo a routine medical and mental health assessment and the appropriate treatment.  The facility operates on a value based level system.  The daily routine includes education, physical exercise and value based groups.  Detainees are also offered religious services and can request to speak with the facility chaplain or a religious leader from another faith based organization.  Visits are restricted to parents, guardians and grandparents only.  Special visits can be requested by attorneys, clergy and counselors.  The number of visits and telephone calls are based on the value based level system. 
    Hours:  24 hours per day operations
    Application procedure:  must be referred by a police department or the juvenile court.
    Fees:  user fees are assessed on parents as part of the juvenile's commitment to detention.


  5. A VARIETY OF SUPPORT SERVICES ARE OFFERED BY THE COURT


    • COMMUNITY SERVICE
      voluntary work performed by juveniles for a non-profit agency or governmental agency.


    • YOUTH JUSTICE PROJECT
      is a two to six month diversion program sponsored by the Probation Deparment and the University of Notre Dame.  Juveniles could be given a variety of projects to complete depending upon the circumstances of their case, including, but not limited to: community service at various agencies, peer groups, and a reading program with volunteer community mentors.


    • SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING PROGRAM
      will also take walk-in urine drug screens.  Parents must sign a contract and the information will be released only to parents.  (Fee:  $25 - cash only)


    • COURT ORDERED SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT PROGRAM (COSAT)
      is an assessment, and if appropriate, a 12 week substance abuse treatment program that includes twice weekly group therapy for both the child and family.  (Total cost:  $120)


  6. CASA (COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATE)
    this program trains volunteers who are assigned to abuse and neglect cases currently before the Court.  The volunteer meets with all parties, and conducts an independent investigation to provide information to the Court on what is in the best interests of the child.


  7. JUVENILE JUSTICE CENTER RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT PROGRAM
    operated by Madison Center in a contractual arrangement with the Court;  juveniles and their families are involved in intense treatment programming for mental health, substance abuse and truancy issues.


  8. DAY REPORTING
    is a family based program providing services to juveniles and families as a diversion from placement of the juvenile in the Indiana Department of Correction, or other out of home, restrictive setting. The Day Reporting Program will provide services to juveniles who need increased supervision while on probation. As a diversion program it is a privilege for the juvenile and family to be accepted into the program. Thus, both the juvenile and the family will be initially assessed as to whether there is sufficient amenability and motivation to complete the program successfully.


  9. ELECTRONIC MONITORING PROGRAM
    a home-based monitoring program used by the Court to closely supervise the high risk juveniles under the conditions of home arrest.  (Fees: $25 initial, $10 per week)  In addition, probation has recently added a Global Positioning System (GPS) option.  This option can be made available as an alternative to detention when approved by the Court.


  10. COMMUNITY TRANSITION PROGRAM
    provides a more structured and supportive release of a juvenile from an Indiana Department of Correction facility into the community. It does this by assisting parents in increasing their abilities to establish a healthy family structure, provide for the appropriate supervision and emotional support for their juvenile. Transition services begin before the juvenile is released from the correctional facility. Parents and their juvenile engage in family therapy in order to establish goals and expectations for the juvenile after discharge. After the juvenile is released into the community, the family continues to participate in services that focus on improving relationships, strengthening skills, and stabilizing the home environment.

  11. CENTRAL ACADEMY
    is a court school created by Judge Peter J. Nemeth. All children who attend the academy must be on probation and "court ordered" to attend. The school is operated by the St. Joseph Probate Court for students who have been expelled, suspended, truant or at high risk of not completing their education. It is accredited by the Indiana Department of Education.


  12. The school currently has two different programs:
    • A Graduate Equivalent Degree (GED) program that is set up to help students earn a GED where the possibility of gaining a high school diploma is in question. Students have an individualized learning program crafted for them and they work at their own pace. Required testing for the actual GED test is given monthly. Those who pass the pre-test are sent on to take the GED test.

    • The credit recovery program is set up to help students, who still have the possibility of earning a high school diploma, earn the needed high school credits for graduation. Students gain their credits by utilizing the Plato learning system under the direction of an accredited teacher.

FINAL NOTE:

The Juvenile Justice Center is always in need of volunteers to mentor a child, assist in tutoring detainees in detention, or to provide the appropriate religious services to detainees while in detention.  In addition, a limited number of practicum experiences for students is also provided in the Mental Health, Day Reporting and Probation Departments.  Please contact Mr. George Kuta, Coordinator of Human Resources, if you are interested in volunteering or wanting to be considered for practicum experience.  Mr. Kuta can be reached at (574) 235-5335.

 

 

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