Wednesday, November 10, 2010

CCSO Unveils Youth Resource Center

Putting kids first is the idea behind a collaborative multi-agency effort led by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office to address the needs of all of Collier County’s young people and their families.

The goal of the new Youth Resource Center is to address the needs of all youth – from ‘at-risk’ kids to those who are on the right track in life - and their families in Collier County.

“We want to become the hub for information, referrals and, ultimately, activities for young people in Collier County,” Sheriff Kevin J. Rambosk said.

The location of the Youth Resource Center, on the fifth floor of the Collier County Courthouse, provides a convenient resource for those families that are directed by the court to seek help with their family issues.

“We want parents in Collier County to have a secure place to come if they need assistance,” Sheriff Rambosk said.

The Youth Resource Center addresses delinquency, dependency, and truancy, and helps kids who have been determined to be at risk, among other referrals for services previously offered through the Collier County Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC).

Up until now the JAC had conducted all of the juvenile mental health assessments in Collier County. However, as with many operations throughout the county, state and nation, fee structures are no longer sufficient to continue funding juvenile assessments in the current structure. The Youth Resource Center ensures these important assessments continue to be performed in Collier County.

“The Youth Resource Center addresses the needs of kids in a coordinated effort, resulting in a comprehensive system designed to identify and intervene early with kids who are not currently in trouble but are at risk of getting into trouble in the future,” Sheriff Rambosk said.

Future plans call for the resource center to address the needs of and develop programs and resources for the youth in Collier County who are on the right track and headed in a positive direction.

The Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency in the multi-agency partnership. Partners regularly on-site include the David Lawrence Mental Health Center, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Collier County School District, Lutheran Services of Florida, Florida Department of Children and Families, Drug Free Collier.

Sheriff Rambosk said it made sense for the Sheriff’s Office to take a lead role, noting the agency’s continuing commitment of service, support and activities to the youth and families of Collier County.

“With our interest in county youth programs, it just seem natural we become involved,” the sheriff said.

The Youth Resource Center was created at no additional cost to taxpayers. Services are being provided through reassignment of some duties and consolidation of functions at the Sheriff’s Office, along with assistance from multi-agency partners.

In addition to juvenile assessments, resources and referrals for services to be offered through the center include:

* Individual and group counseling

* Substance abuse education, counseling and drug testing

* Anger management and crisis intervention training

* Parent support groups and skills training

* Mentoring services

* 24-hour hotline

* Truancy processing center and truancy services

* Athletic activities

* After-school program

* Parenting classes

* Meeting space for kids

Other partners and stakeholders include Marco Island Police Department, Naples Police Department, State Attorney’s Office, Collier County Parks and Recreation, Collier County Health Department, Naples Alliance For Children, Boys and Girls Club, Police Activities League, PACE Center for Girls, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America.