Gay Lockling, Director
1100 Prescott Lakes Parkway, Prescott, AZ 86301
The Yavapai County Juvenile Court is dedicated to providing direction and opportunities
that develop responsible youth, strong families, restored victims, and a safe community.
Influencing Positive Change
Yavapai County Juvenile Court is comprised of a dedicated staff who proudly serve the children and families in Yavapai County while they are involved in both the delinquency and dependency court systems. The work accomplished by the incredible staff of Juvenile Court is driven by their efforts to fulfill the vision and mission statement of the department through a myriad of programs, specialized supervision efforts, and progressive reforms.
Accomplishments, objectives and goals of the current year and upcoming budget year/specialized programs:
Dependency Court Specialized Programs
Children and families that are involved in the child welfare system are seen by the Presiding Juvenile Court Judge Anna Young at both the Juvenile Justice Center and the Verde Valley Court. All efforts to reunify families and keep children safe are taken by a small group of staff with the utmost focus on respectful discourse and use of resources. Many of these resources come from a group of volunteers known as CASA’s, or Court Appointed Special Advocates.
Current Dependency Statistics in Yavapai County for 2021:
CASA volunteers – 73
Number of dependent children – 368
Number of open dependency cases – 250
Number of children assigned to a CASA – 119
CASA volunteer information for 2021:
Number of hours volunteered by CASA’s – 8,716
Number of miles driven by CASA’s to assist kids/families – 75,256
Amount of out-of-pocket funds spent by CASA’s - $15,915.61
Juvenile Court Institute (JCI) – Volunteer program for Juvenile Court
JCI is a 4-week course for adults that is designed to demystify the juvenile court system and provide a firsthand look at the battles facing our youth and juvenile justice professionals. This program offers the community an opportunity to explore both the dependency and delinquency courts of Yavapai County. Through JCI, we provide training and background checks that allow participants to volunteer for the Juvenile Court.
Frequently utilized volunteer programs:
· Victim Call Night – four volunteers who assist with calling victims of juvenile crime for their feedback on the system.
· Community Juvenile Justice Committee (CJJC) – a group of four trained volunteers who meet with juvenile offenders to determine sanctions for their offenses and to offer community resources and assistance for the juvenile.
· Faith-based services in detention – six local churches rotate throughout the year to provide services to detained youth. The churches also provide meals for the juveniles during holiday events – i.e. Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter.
· Numerous hours are volunteered by citizens of Yavapai County to assist with mentoring, tutoring, and general help in the probation office.
Current Volunteer Statistics:
109 individuals currently volunteer for the Yavapai County Juvenile Probation Department. Since January 1, 2021, these volunteers have donated approximately 1057 hours of their time to assist with the juveniles. This volunteer activity spans the spectrum of mentoring, tutoring, and general visits for those juveniles who have no family member involved in their life and hours are frequently under-reported.
Detention Reduction Programs and Improvement Initiatives
Nationwide, initiatives have taken place to reduce the number of juveniles in detention centers. Yavapai County is no exception to these changes and has responded to the need to utilize objective assessment tools and alternatives to detention to ensure that the appropriate juveniles are detained. While some of these juveniles are not detained, they are provided resources to ensure their safety and the safety of the community.
BRIDGES formally known as the Detention Alternative Options Center (DAOC)
In March 2017, DAOC was opened at the detention center as an alternative to detention for low level offenders that would otherwise be detained. DAOC staff provide these juveniles a place to stay for up to 23 hours, during which an assessment of their needs is conducted. Resources are allocated as necessary with the goal to return the juveniles home to their family or an appropriate placement. Current statistics indicate that a large majority of these juveniles are charged with disorderly conduct associated with domestic violence. This has proven to be an extremely cost-effective alternative to detention.
Modifications were made to the detention center during the past year and the DAOC program was moved into one of the vacant pods to allow for expansion of services. At the suggestion of one of JPO’s long-time volunteers, the program was re-named BRIDGES as the program provides a vast array of services and assessments to children and families
Current statistics for Bridges
Number of juveniles diverted from detention since 3/17: 736 juveniles
Number of juveniles diverted from 7/1/21 – 2/22/21: 148 juveniles
Detention Alternative Options (DAO) Home Detention and GPS Program
The DAO program’s goal is to keep detention populations manageable by implementing a program that assigns detention officers to monitor juveniles at home, via phone contacts, personal visits, and through GPS tracking. This program assists the judge in finding the right amount of accountability for our juveniles, while providing community protection through enhanced monitoring of juveniles who are not detained. The program provides a tiered/graduated approach to working with juveniles prior to them entering detention or after they have left our detention facility. To date, the additional alternatives to detention and the added supervision in the field has been very well received by the judge, probation staff, and parents of juveniles.
Current statistics for DAO
Number of juveniles diverted from 7/1/21 – 2/28/22: 103 juveniles
Life skills Enrichment and Academic Program (LEAP)
LEAP is an evening reporting center that focuses on keeping juveniles out of detention while providing them with a safe place to go for mentoring, treatment, and life skills classes. There were 6,076 hours served under the LEAP program.
• Vaping education, partnering with Yavapai County Health Department
• Fentanyl education, curriculum developed and partnering with Yavapai County Health Department
• Soft skills and job readiness programming with Goodwill Job Center
• Healthy Relationships curriculum with Yavapai County Health Department
• Financial education with financial expert, Dawn McMenamy
• Prop 207 Marijuana Education, developed curriculum for both 1st and 2nd offense
• Anger Management Skills curriculum developed
• Library Education, partnering with Prescott Public Library
• Dating and the Law Education offered to diversion youth each month
• Kid at Hope goal setting and vision boards
• Music Therapy and Drumming partnering with Bill Dicker
• Healthy meal preparation on a budget
• Writing an effective apology letter through the M.A.T.S. Making Amends Through Sincerity curriculum
• Relationship Conflict Resolution curriculum developed
• Equine Therapy, partnering with Sondra Wilkening
• Probation Orientation class offered monthly
• Art therapy, partnering with Mona Nyree
Juvenile Community Restitution
Since 1/1/19, the Juvenile Court Community Restitution program has worked to provide over 45,251 hours of community service work for the whole county.
Key Projects (photos attached)
· Dead Horse State Park – year-round maintenance, trail maintenance, erosion control and landscaping
· Camp Verde Equestrian Center – weed abatement and painting projects
· Red Rock State Park – maintenance, painting, and trail work
· Horses with Heart – Landscaping and horse care
· Circle L Ranch – Animal clean up and landscaping
· Chino Valley Parks, Prescott Parks, PV Parks – trail and park maintenance
· Work around the JJC including a landscaping and car washing
· Prescott National Forest – campsite clean-up, landscaping, and range clean-up
Probation Resource Officers – (PRO)
At a meeting with school officials at the Mile High Middle School at the start of the 2021 school year, it became apparent that local schools were struggling with not only the issues surrounding the pandemic, but related issues regarding Truancy, vaping on school grounds, marijuana use on school grounds and school violence to name a few. In collaboration with the school districts, it was decided to send one probation officer from each side of the mountain into the schools to assist with these issues and become a resource. This effort has been widely applauded by the schools and the workload associated with this initiative has proven worthwhile.
• Assists with 13 schools weekly
• 83 referrals directly from the schools since the start 10/21.
• Combined caseloads of Crossover Youth and Diversions from the schools
• Assists with 22 schools weekly
• Current caseload of 83 diversions
The PRO assists the schools with truancy, school threats, vaping, assaults, and facilitating education classes as requested by the school district.
Dependency Alternative Program – (DAP)
The DAP commenced in Yavapai County in November 2021. The goal of DAP is to avoid filing cases in the Dependency Court when all parties believe that a dependency action could be avoided when an alternative legal arrangement could be provided for the safety and stability of the children and family. The goal of DAP is to keep families out of the dependency system for at least one year. A DAP case lasts an average of seven days from the referral vs a dependency case that lasts an average of 682 days if dismissed post-adjudication and 141 days if dismissed pre-adjudication.
Yavapai County just had their first referral from DCS for the DAP on 2/5/22. The entire case has already been mediated and concluded as of this date.
Crossover Parents/Crossover Probation
Commencing January 2022, juvenile probation, adult probation, and CASA met to discuss efforts to strengthen communication between departments and the court regarding shared family members. These family members may be involved in the dependency court, and adult probation and/or juvenile probation and at times all three systems. On-going efforts for data sharing have occurred and probation officers reporting directly to the court has been an enormous benefit for the Dependency Court Judge. Statistics will be compiled during the year and review of stakeholders to determine efficacy. Anecdotally, these efforts are paying off and information sharing beneficial to all parties.
Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project– on-going through 2022
The Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project is a collaborative effort with our department, the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University, and the University of Cincinnati. The aim of the project was to further align the services we provide through quality risk assessments that guide our level of supervision, placements, programs, and treatment options.
The disposition MATRIX, which is to help guide sentencing/disposition recommendations for the bench was implemented 7/1/21 after staff training. To date, 181 cases have gone through disposition utilizing the MATRIX.
The fundamental changes that have resulted from the MATRIX are an immediate reduction in probation caseloads and an increase in diversion cases.
Grants and specialized programs
Juvenile Court has been successful in acquiring and administering several grants that supplement funding and provide services that would otherwise go unfunded.
Victims’ Rights Program (State)
The $23,922.00 in funding from the Victims’ Rights grant has allowed our department to ensure statutorily mandated services and notifications for all victims who are involved in the juvenile court system. This grant has allowed us to create a Victims’ Rights Coordinator position. The coordinator is responsible for notifying victims whenever a juvenile has any modification to his or her probation terms, anytime he or she goes into placement or detention, whenever there are any restitution issues, and whenever there is an upcoming hearing.
Victims of Crime Act (Federal)
The CASA program is in the third year of this grant opportunity as follows: • FY 10/1/21 – 9/30/22 $32,290• FY 10/1/22 – 9/30/23 is $35,481
The funding for this grant goes toward training of staff, volunteers, and marketing.
Arizona Department of Education Breakfast/Lunch Program
The department averages $55,000 for the breakfast/lunch program that provides meals for our juveniles in detention. This significantly assists in keeping the county costs low for providing nutritious meals for our detained juveniles.
Title IV-E funding (State/Federal)
Federal Payments for Foster Care and Adoption Assistance. This funding source addresses major components of child welfare monthly maintenance payments for the daily care and supervision of eligible children. Through the oversight of the AOC, Yavapai County Juvenile Court has started the process of utilizing IV-E funds for the quick placement of juveniles who are eligible. The eligibility process is completed with the assistance of DCS but may afford a 70% return on the placement cost to Yavapai County. This program has screened several juveniles, and to date has netted $87,455.36 in funding.
Juvenile Crime Reduction Fund Grants (State) – Grant Requests Outstanding
Through the AOC, Yavapai County Juvenile Court has applied for grant funding for several of our programs that needed additional resources and improvement.
The Journey Program
An 8-week residential treatment program imbedded in the detention center and is considered non-detained. Juveniles are released from the center to attend school, programs in the community, and outdoor activities. The primary goal of the Journey program is to work with juveniles with substance abuse problems to re-think their choices and seek out other methods of living their life. There is a heavy emphasis on group and family therapy. This program is run in collaboration with Polara, Spectrum and CFSS.
• Through this grant, the program is requesting $28,420.00 for program improvement.
Juvenile Court Institute (JCI) - The departments educational program for volunteers.
• Through this grant, the program is requesting $9,813.00 for program assistance.
BRIDGES – detention alternatives center.
• Through this grant, the program is requesting $14,750.00 for program improvement.
Lifeskills Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP) the departments evening reporting center.
• Through this grant, the program is requesting $9,280.00 for program assistance.
Future Needs of Juvenile Court
As outlined in the Exhibit 3 and memo, the Juvenile Probation Department is currently focused on
the technology improvements and maintenance of the Juvenile Justice Center.