Juvenile court voluntary preventative programs

The Senate Committee on Family and Children Services heard SB 596 authored by Sen. Spartz and Sen. Merritt on juvenile court voluntary preventative programs. The bill provides that the Indiana Supreme Court may establish a pilot program to assist juvenile court judges in creating voluntary preventative programs for at-risk children. The bill provides that the Indiana Supreme Court shall select five counties to participate in a pilot program. One county must be predominately urban, and one must be predominately rural. It requires the Court to collaborate with DCS, DOE, FSSA, and the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet to select the participating counties.

The effective date of the pilot program is July 1, 2019.  The bill requires the Office of Judicial Administration to submit a report to the Legislative Council by December 1, 2020. The project has no additional monies available and the legislation states that agency should be able to accomplish this task within existing resources, assuming near customary staffing levels.

The bill also provides that the pilot program may (1) provide grants to the juvenile court in a pilot county for use in establishing and maintaining a voluntary preventative program; (2) gather data and consult with schools, government, and business and community leaders in the pilot county to determine the needs of the children in the county; (3) assist in developing and coordinating programs and services offered under the program; and (4) engage in continuing outreach to schools in a pilot county.

Former Hamilton County Superior Court Judge Steve Nation testified in favor of the bill.

Read the bill at: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2019/bills/senate/596