State lawmakers are giving their backing to a promising juvenile justice pilot program.
An informal experiment has been quietly taking place in Douglas County since 2009; an effort to give youth a variety of services without removing them from their family.
Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha sponsors the bill that would give legislative approval to the program, backed by $1.2 million.
“We truly are reforming the system by trying to keep as many people as we can out of the process of being made wards of the state to access services,” Krist says.
Krist credits the Chief Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court, the Department of Health and Humans Services and Probation for starting the pilot program. LB 985 would give it the formal approval of the legislature, which has advanced the bill.
Another pilot will be started in rural Nebraska, likely in North Platte. If the success experienced in Douglas County can be duplicated, the program would likely be expanded statewide.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]