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Boys Town joins county juvenile program

This article was posted on  August 7, 2018.

PLATTSMOUTH—Cass County has a program aimed at early diversion of at-risk juveniles back on the right track of life.

And, on Tuesday morning, its Board of Commissioners signed an agreement with a world famous organization to help in this cause.

Father Flanagan's Boys Home, also known as Boys Town, will provide services to keep juveniles in school.

"Truancy is a big problem," said County Attorney S. Colin Palm. "We're trying to find effective ways to deal with it."

This is the first year the county will use Boys Town as one of its providers for various services for pre-adjudicated and/or juveniles enrolled in county diversion programs, according to Megan Duncan, diversion director. Boys Town has a good reputation and has professionals available 24 hours a day, she said.

Besides seeking Boys Town's help in keeping juveniles in school, the county also has agreements with two other agencies for their expertise. Owens Educational Services of Omaha provides tracking and electronic monitoring, while Heartland Family Services of Papillion offers crisis management teams to keep juveniles in the home when a crisis does occur.

The county has a $91,000 grant from the Nebraska Crime Commission for paying these agencies for their services.

"We're trying to do everything we can on the front end," Palm said. "If we can divert these kids early on, it increases our odds we won't see them later on."

On another matter, the commissioners approved the continuation of a long-standing agreement between the county and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for child support enforcement.

The enforcement comes out of the county attorney's office, which has one full-time individual dealing with enforcement, along with help when possible by an attorney there, according to Palm. Last year, his office had a budget of $46,107 to pay for that individual and supplies, according to Palm. The state also reimburses the county for providing this service that has to be done by someone, he said.