Cross Co. officials try to cut down on juvenile crime

WYNNE, AR (KAIT)- Cross County officials met Thursday to discuss ways to help decrease the number of juvenile cases in the county.

The room was filled with about 25 county officials from school administration to law enforcement. The group discussed ways to cut down the number of juvenile cases after doubling in two years.

Madelyn Keith, executive director of East Arkansas Youth Services, attended Thursday's meeting. East Arkansas Youth Services provide community services to kids in the juvenile justice system.

"There are less positive intervention and diversion services on the front end to prevent kids from every getting to juvenile court," said Keith.

Keith said she thought the meeting was necessary and very beneficial.

"There's a lot that can be gained from exchanging people's stories," Keith said. "You know this is how we do it where we are, and this is how we do it in schools and these are the issues that we see."

She said since resources are limited, it is helpful for everyone attending the meeting to share their expertise and experiences.

"One of the things that the school district offered was their grant writer to be available if anyone came across resources, funding resources that we can apply for," she said. 

The group also discussed trends at the state level and how other rural communities in Arkansas are facing the same issues.

"Anytime we can provide positive reinforcements on the front end and utilize least restrictive measures," Keith said.

In 2011, juvenile cases cost Cross County over $28,000 and in 2012, over $56,000.

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