A program that has seen success in preventing unhealthy behaviors among young people in Great Bend will now be expanded.
The Barton County Commission Monday morning approved growing the 20th Judicial District Juvenile Services All Stars Core Training. This is a school-based intervention program designed to reduce adolescents’ engagement in risk behaviors such as substance use, violence and sexual activity, Juvenile Services Director Marissa Woodmansee said.
The agency currently provides the program to Unified School District 428 sixth grades and the high school’s Jobs for America’s Graduates program.
Having paid a $750 deposit, Juvenile Services requested that the commission authorize a $3,000 expenditure to pay the balance of the training for school, law enforcement and JJS personnel. This was approved and the training can be expanded into Hoisington USD 431.
“I get really excited about it,” Woodmansee said.
All Stars came about out of necessity as her Kansas Department of Corrections money for her office dwindled. “It has forced me to look outside of just Department of Corrections for funding.”
This led to an opportunity to collaborate with the Kansas Department of Aging and Disabilities.
There was a planning process that involved surveying 10th to 12th graders. “We wanted to see what are the issues that are relevant to juveniles in our community,” Woodmansee said.
“We realized that we still had some issues with the early onset of tobacco, alcohol, promiscuity and bullying (worse now in the era of social media),” she said.
Next was implementation, and she said the All Stars program was the best fit. An an evidence-based program, it has been in Great Bend for three years, going on its fourth.
“It takes time to see if prevention efforts are working,” she said. “It’s not going to be a magic band-aide that we’re going to put over it and solve all the problems.”
That is why the evidence-based approach is so crucial. It makes sure it is being used properly and is working.
All Stars delves deeper with kids, she said. It touches on beliefs, norms, values and the consequences of actions.
“For us, we really have to help work with them through those things,” Woodmansee said. They also walk kids through goal setting and other ways to better themselves.
Riley Elementary School was the first pilot program, she said. Instructors there said they have seen signs that is has worked.
By training more instructors, Woodmansee said it will be easier to sustain All Stars.
Juvenile Services agreement with state OKed
The Barton County Commission Monday morning approved the 20th Judicial District Juvenile Services’ Interlocal Cooperation Agreement with the Kansas Attorney General’s Office.
Since 1997 when the 20th Judicial District Juvenile Services was formed, it has been operating under the Central Kansas Community Correction’s agreement with the KAGO.
However Juvenile Services Director Marissa Woodmansee said the AG’s office, which oversees Juvenile Services, requires the formal agreement specifically for JJS to insure future funding. So, she requested approval of the deal.
This is to assure that all counties covered by the district juvenile services have the understanding that Barton County is the administrative county, she said. The district includes Barton, Ellsworth, Rice, Russell and Stafford counties, and now all have approved the agreement.
Using the CKCC agreement as a template, County Counselor Patrick Hoffman prepared the document, she said. It will now be submitted to the Kansas Attorney General’s Office.