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For Immediate Release
May 25, 2016

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DHHS, Probation Collaborate to Educate Professionals Serving Youth at Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association Annual Conference

Kearney – Serving youth and families involved in the juvenile justice system better is the goal of a collaboration by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Administrative Office of Probation, said two presenters last week at the Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association Conference in Kearney.
Lindy Bryceson, Children and Family Services (CFS) field operation administrator at DHHS, and Kari Rumbaugh, Probation assistant deputy administrator, explained their specific roles in servicing youth and families at the annual meeting of key players in the juvenile justice system.
Prior to the implementation of LB 561 in 2014, which transferred most juvenile justice responsibilities from DHHS to Probation, all state wards involved in the juvenile justice system were the responsibility of DHHS. After the bill was passed in 2013 and signed into law, Probation provided most services to juvenile justice youth without making the youth state wards. When youth were involved in both the juvenile justice system and the child welfare system, the responsibilities of each became confusing at times, they said.
At the conference, Rumbaugh and Bryceson identified their different focus. Probation primarily focuses on behavior change, community safety, and a youth’s delinquency, while CFS provides child safety, permanency and well-being.
“We must look at all aspects of a child and not just their violation of the law,” Bryceson said. “That includes a child’s medical needs, history of abuse and neglect, developmental disabilities and many other factors that may affect their situation and decision making.”
“We need to be working together and streamlining our response to the needs of youth and families. We must have a different response,” Rumbaugh said.
Additionally, Bryceson and Rumbaugh discussed the importance of working together, especially for youth who are involved in both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.  The Crossover Youth Practice Model was highlighted due to the work which has brought systems together to benefit youth and families.  The program is currently operating as a pilot in four counties with the goal of statewide implementation.
“One piece of our work is case management and how we work together so youth don’t have barriers to receive the services they need,” Rumbaugh said.
“Each of us has knowledge about the child and the family, and we need to fully inform each other about what we know,” Bryceson said. “If we don’t effectively deal with both sides of the program, research shows that youth who are maltreated are at greater risk to engage in delinquent behavior and that’s not good for youth, families and their community.”
Probation and DHHS expect to provide more information about the result of their collaboration at the September 7-9, Children’s Summit in Kearney. Registration opens July 5 on the Nebraska Court Improvement Project website.