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Youth aftercare gets #036;20K donation

Staff Report

The Pike County Juvenile Probation Office’s Youth Aftercare and Prevention program will be benefitting from more than $20,000 awarded by the governor.

On Friday, Gov. Don Siegelman awarded $20,034 to the Administrative Office of Courts to continue the juvenile prevention program in Pike County.

The program provides professional counselors to develop and manage prevention and follow-up services for juvenile delinquents after their release from the Department of Youth Services. Reducing the number of criminal offenses committed by teenagers in Pike County is the goal of the program.

"Juvenile offenders need guidance and supervision to encourage a change in lifestyle that will lead them away from delinquency," Siegelman said. "Everyone benefits when we can stop a juvenile delinquent from becoming a career criminal. I commend the Pike County Juvenile Probation Office for their efforts and I am pleased to provide these funds."

More than 45 juveniles will receive aftercare services, this year, through the program. The program will also provide four, eight-week educational group sessions for delinquent youth, which will include self motivational skills, preparing job applications, pre-interview training, tips on how to deal with peer pressure and drug prevention information.

With the funding, Pike County juvenile officers expect to improve the quality of services offered and reduce the number of delinquent cases in the county by 10 percent.

The juvenile probation office plans to work with other county agencies, social clubs and religious organizations to prevent delinquency. Classes for families and group sessions on the prevention of teenage pregnancy will also be offered to juveniles as part of the program.

Siegelman awarded the grant from funds provided to the state through a U.S. Department of Justice program. He has designated the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to administer the grant.