Department of Probation and Youth Services

Chief Probation Officer: Jennifer Marple
Deputy Chief Probation Officer: Donna Rivera-Wells
Phone: (440) 326-4880

Introduction

The Department of Probation and Youth Services provides a continuum of services to address the needs of Lorain County’s unruly and delinquent youth and their families while taking necessary measures to address public safety when necessary.

The Department of Probation and Youth Services offers services to youth and families independently and in partnership with other Lorain County agencies serving youth and families. Our youth and families present with diverse needs during all phases of their involvement with us.

Note that the service/programming descriptions below begin with our programming designed to address youth conduct concerns without formal court involvement and extend to services for youth whose offenses warranted formal court involvement and some level of court supervision following adjudication and/or disposition.

Juvenile Intake Department

The Juvenile Intake Department, located at the Detention Home, performs several functions for the Court. This unit handles the following:

  • Unofficial complaints
  • First offense shoplifting cases
  • Tobacco violations
  • Arraignments on official status and domestic violence charges
  • Unofficial hearings for intervention and diversion purposes
  • The Intake magistrates are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, to respond to law enforcement’s requests for admissions to the Lorain County Juvenile Detention Home, Turning Point Youth Shelter, as well as transport of youth to the Assessment Center.

Diversion Services are provided to youth and families with the belief that these youth will course correct away from unruly or delinquent behavior without formal court involvement if their needs are effectively addressed. Assessment and Diversion Specialists link youth and families with community service providers who address identified basic, medical, physical, educational, behavioral health, social, SUD needs.

Lorain County Assessment and Resource Center- UPDATE

In an effort to better serve the community and enhance the availability of the Lorain County Assessment and Resource Center to the public, I want to notify you of the schedule changes that we will be implementing as a result of the data we have gathered over the last year.  Effective June 5, 2022 the hours of operation are as follows:

Monday through Friday: 8:00 am to 9:00 pm

Saturday and Sunday: 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm

The Lorain County Juvenile Court Assessment and Resource Center welcomes youth and families of Lorain County to contact us for support and connection to services.  Families are able to stop in during business hours or call us to set up an appointment at a time of their convenience.  Over the last year, our facility has served over 1,200 cases and has successfully linked youth and families to a variety of services in the community to meet their needs.  We remain proud to provide this service to the citizens of Lorain County and will continue to provide a caring and professional environment for the members of our community that we serve.

Please reach out to us at 440-326-4019 with any questions.  We would be happy to set up a time to come visit your staff to discuss the Assessment Center and the services we offer!

Youth and families participate in a thorough psycho-social assessment to identify youth and family strengths and needs. Assessment Specialists use this information to link youth and families with community agencies/resources designed to meet youth/family needs. Assessment Specialists are able to provide light case management services to youth and families as requested. All youth/families receive follow-up calls within the first week following assessment and again 30 and 90 days following the completion of the assessment.

Law Enforcement Officers are encouraged to contact the Detention Home Control Room at 440-326-4040 to determine whether the Assessment Center is an appropriate option to resolve concerns immediately or by appointment. Officers are asked to contact a parent/guardian and ask that the parent also reports to the Assessment Center if it is decided that the youth will be transported to the Assessment Center. It should be noted that youth must be medically cleared to report to the Assessment Center if they have obvious injuries, appear to be under the influence, or are presenting as actively self-injurious, suicidal, or homicidal.

Parents are encouraged to self-refer when they feel they need assistance managing their child’s unruly or delinquent conduct. Parents may call the Assessment Center at 440-326-4019 to reach an Assessment Specialist or the department voicemail.  Should you leave a voicemail, an Assessor will get back with you within 24 hours.  Parents and juveniles will have an opportunity to be heard on the presenting needs within the home, as well as be advised of the resources in the community that can best meet those needs.  Parents and juveniles in crisis will also be afforded the opportunity to meet with a Behavioral Health clinician for further consultation.

Educators are encouraged to refer when they feel that a youth would benefit from Assessment Center services.  Educators may call the Assessment Center at 440-326-4019 for consultation on potential referrals or they can email the Assessment Center with demographics and details on the presenting concerns.  Emails can be directed to a.center@lcfct.org.

The Department of Probation and Youth Services understands how difficult it can be for families to wait for help and is very pleased to be able to offer youth and families the opportunity to receive immediate assessment and linkage to appropriate services.

Diversion Specialist

Research indicates that it is in the best interests of unruly/ungovernable youth and youth who commit minor offenses to be diverted from formal Juvenile Court involvement. Evidence also indicates it is public safety neutral to do so.

When our Prosecutors’ Office, Magistrates, or the Assessment Center Staff review informal complaints, police reports, or charges and determine that the presenting issues are most appropriately addressed by diverting the youth from formal processing of unruly or delinquency charges, they refer the matter to our Diversion Specialist.

Our Diversion Specialist engages youth and families in a Diversion Conference, during which a psycho-social assessment is completed to identify youth and family strengths and needs. The Diversion Specialist then makes recommendations and referrals for services to build upon strengths and address identified needs.

The Diversion Specialist is able to provide assistance with linkage to services, case management and support for a brief period, usually less than 90 days. The ultimate goal of diversion is for the youth and family to effectively address their needs within the community, without long term diversion involvement or formal court involvement.

School-Attendance Program

The Lorain County Juvenile Court’s School-Attendance Program works with students who are having some problems getting to school daily and on time. To address school attendance, the program utilizes a formal process, which involves a working partnership with the Lorain County Education Service Center, the participating school districts, the Lorain County Juvenile Court, and the Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office.

The process for addressing school attendance follows a continuum of approaches from prevention to intervention to prosecution. In December 2016, the Ohio General Assembly passed House Bill 410 to support and encourage a preventative approach to excessive absences and habitual truancy. At the start of the 2017-2018 school year, the new legislation mandated Ohio Schools to track attendance by the hour a student is absent from school rather than days. A student is considered habitually truant if the student is absent without a legitimate excuse for 30 or more consecutive hours, 42 hours in a calendar month, or 72 or more hours in a school year.

House Bill 410 further acknowledges that non-academic barriers often keep students from attending school daily and on time. Therefore, all students that reach the threshold for habitual truancy must be assigned an Absence Intervention Team and an Absence Intervention Plan is created. In order to fulfill the mandated requirements and address unique barriers, the Lorain County Juvenile Court’s Attendance Program works in unison with partnering school districts to develop a specific Absence Intervention Plan based on the student’s individual needs.

When a student has reached habitual truancy, he/she is formally referred to the Lorain County Attendance Officer by the school principal or assistant principal. When the Attendance Officer receives the referral, an Absence Intervention Team is developed. It is the Attendance Officer’s responsibility to address school attendance with the parent/guardian(s), the child and the school team. During this interaction, a number of interventions are identified and an Absence Intervention Plan is created. The Attendance Officer is responsible to conduct weekly school visits and discuss updates with the Absence Intervention Team. The Attendance Officer conducts a 30-day review with the parent/guardian(s) and evaluates the case at 60-days to determine progress.

If a student does not make satisfactory progress on their Absence Intervention Plan, the Attendance Officer will file an official complaint with the Court. The student will then be enrolled in the Court’s Alternative to Adjudication Process, where another attempt to divert the case is made.
The Lorain County Attendance Officers participate in the prosecution process through:

  • Preparation of an Absence Intervention Plan, case materials, and investigative reports to support the prosecution of a case.
  • Participation in all adult/ juvenile legal proceedings, in which the Attendance Officer initiated formal charges.
  • Monitoring of the compliance of court orders.

Various flow charts and formal forms used for truancy can be found in the forms tab labeled Attendance Forms.

Pre-dispositional Services

Probation Services are provided to youth and families once a decision has been made that the seriousness of their offense warrants formal processing of their charges through Lorain County Juvenile Court. Some youth will begin to receive services at the time of an arrest, as they may be detained in the Lorain County Detention Home at that time and may only be released to alternative to detention programming. Other youth will begin receiving probation services at the time of their arraignment, if it is believed to be necessary to manage a threat to public safety. Yet other youth will not receive probation services until they have been adjudicated delinquent on the charge(s) that brought them to the attention of the Court. When probation services do not effectively resolve the issues that create a threat to public safety, the Court may order post dispositional services involving residential placement, such as the Lorain County Detention Home or the Ohio Department of Youth Services.

In-Home Detention and Pre-Dispositional Services

The In-Home Detention/Pre-Dispositional Services Programs provide a service that offers an alternative to detaining youth in the Detention Home pending further pre-trials or dispositions.
Youth placed in the In-Home Detention Program are generally less serious offenders that do not appear to represent a danger to themselves or the community. Staff will monitor youth by doing random home visits, school visits, and phone calls to our clients and their families. Random drug testing can be used on select youth.

The release of serious offenders will require the use of electronic monitoring, which is monitored by program staff. Use of this equipment permits 24 hour monitoring of youths adherence to “home detention.” The In-Home Detention Program has both cell phone and GPS units available.
Daily logs will be kept on youth in the In-Home Detention/Pre-Dispositional Services. These will be monitored by the Probation Officers and the Program Manager. Violations of the rules may result in further restrictions and/or placement in the Detention Home.
The purpose of the Pre-Dispositional Services is to monitor adjudicated youth in the community while awaiting their disposition.

The youth will be required to check in with staff once a week by phone or visits. Unannounced home visits, school visits, and phone calls will be made by staff. Random drug testing is available for select youth. The Pre-Dispositional Program also has use both cell phone and GPS electronic monitoring units. Violations may result in further restrictions and/or placement in the Detention Home

Specialized Dockets:

The Department of Probation and Youth Services offers other post adjudication, but pre-dispositional services to youth whose delinquency is identified as significantly related to an underlying mental health or substance use condition. When youth are able to successfully complete these programs, their record regarding the charge(s) is expunged.

Post Dispositional Court Ordered Probation Services

 

Probation

Phone: (440) 326-4880

Juveniles placed on Probation have been assessed as needing continued Court supervision and services. They are required to complete a Court ordered case plan that is designed to address the specific needs of the juvenile and family.

Juvenile Probation makes every effort to take a rehabilitative approach. This involves embracing families and community organizations as partners and motivating youth with opportunities to explore their interests and develop skills, rather than by threats of punishment. Our focus is on interventions, supports and community resources that are effective and evidence based.

Juveniles are assigned a Probation Officer, who monitors the juvenile’s compliance with court orders and case plan requirements through contact with the juvenile, family, school officials and other professionals involved in the juvenile’s life. The frequency of contact is based upon the youth’s assessed risk to recidivate. The Probation Officer is responsible to make reports to the Court regarding the youth’s progression. Rewards and incentives are used to encourage cooperation and compliance with services, keeping the best interest of the family in mind.

Additional responsibilities of the Probation Officer include providing security for Court operations, participating in meetings with outside agencies and assisting families in accessing community services. They also provide supervision for adults charged with Contributing to the Unruliness or Delinquency of a Minor.

Sex Offender Program

Juveniles adjudicated delinquent for a sexual offense are referred for a sex offender risk assessment. The assessment determines appropriate recommendations, with options including community treatment, out-of-home placement, or commitment to the Ohio Department of Youth Services.

For juveniles who remain in the community, the Probation Officer will design safety plans to provide adequate supervision of the offender and protection for the victim and the community. The Probation Officer supervises juveniles by monitoring their participation in sex offender specific treatment, and monitor the juveniles’ behavior and actions at home, school and in the community, and supervise compliance with dispositional orders of the Court. The Probation Officer receives specific training to assist in identifying behaviors that can lead to further offending.

Offenders participate in individual and / or group therapy with local agency treatment providers. The Probation Officer maintains frequent contact with the treatment providers to share information, observations, and interventions. Programming lasts between 18 and 24 months. Failure to complete all requirements of the program will result in further Court action possibly requiring out of home placement.

Based on age and type of offense the Court may classify an offender as a Sexually Oriented Offender Registrant (JSORN).

Probation Services for Multi-System Involved Youth

Youth who face challenges related to serious mental health concerns and/or cognitive or developmental disabilities often require involvement with multiple community agencies in order to achieve success through positive change. These services might include: Behavioral Health Care, Board of Developmental Disabilities, Individualized Education Planning through their School or an education placement designed to effectively manage their behavioral health and education needs. In some cases, these youth may require substance abuse related services as well.

Because of the multiple challenges these youth face, the Department of Youth and Probation assigns youth meeting these criteria to a Probation Officer with a caseload limited in size so that the Probation Officer is better able to provide these youth and families with the level of case management they require to be successful.

This Probation Officer provides frequent phone and face to face contact with youth and families. This Probation Officer also facilitates effective collaboration between the youth, family, service providers, and the Court. In doing so, this Probation Officer is able to mobilize effective response to crises and facilitate needed assessments and appropriate service referrals as the youth progresses or as new needs are identified.

In rare instances, when the community service team determines that it has exhausted local resources available to safety maintain the youth in the community, this Probation Officer may seek the support of the Children’s Continuum of Care Committee to manage the needs of these multi-system involved youth.

Success for Youth

Success for Youth provides skill development for youth diagnosed with Borderline Intellectual Functioning, who have been adjudicated delinquent. Programming offers an opportunity to learn social skills, computer skills, and job skills to assist juveniles in obtaining employment and eventual independence. Success for Youth focuses on males and females from Elyria and Lorain, aged 15 – 17, who are experiencing difficulties due to their educational and social-emotional diagnostic needs.

Catholic Charities collaborates with the Court to provide case management, social skills development, assistance with career development, preparation of resumes, computer skills and realistic job skills training that is designed to meet educational and employment needs, as well as personal development. The assigned Probation Officer is responsible for encouraging youth to utilize skill-building techniques, implement learned coping strategies and to encourage positive parent engagement.

The Probation Officer and Case Manager plan social activities that provide an opportunity for youth to utilize their skills, while providing tools for redirecting conflicts and addressing any barriers to learning. The Case Manager and Probation Officer work closely with identified treatment providers, school officials and other supportive community members in the child’s life to encourage compliance and success in all aspects of the youth’s life.

Crossroads Program

The Crossroads Program is a is an intervention program offered through the Lorain County’s Juvenile Probation Department. It offers a higher level of supervision to youth while they remain in the community. All participants must meet the required criteria, be deemed appropriate by the by the Court’s Investigation and Referral Team, and ultimately ordered into the program by the Court.

The Crossroads Program consists of a 16-week reporting phase followed by a 4 to 6-week aftercare phase with no reporting guidelines. The reporting phase includes 4 levels of reporting. As youth progress thru the levels, the required number of reporting days per week will be reduced from 5 to 2 days per week. The Crossroads reporting schedule is Monday through Friday, between the hours of 4:00pm to 8:00pm during the school year and 10:00am to 2:00pm during the summer months. The aftercare phase is an opportunity for youth to show the tools and skills they have learned while reporting. Additional therapeutic needs will be identified and delivered based upon the need of the youth and family on site or in home.

While reporting, youth and families can expect to receive intensive services through a collaborative effort with Applewood Centers. Parent involvement is expected and required. Applewood Centers provide programming and services in the form of parenting groups, individual and family counseling sessions, AOD groups, and case management services. The Crossroad’s Case Managers will facilitate a Thinking for a Change curriculum. In addition, youth will also have the opportunity to participate in other activities including life skill development, problem solving activities, team building exercises, and career exploration lessons. Other cognitive counseling programs and ancillary programming will be utilized including Carey Guides and BITS.

Supplemental Programming

Bellfaire / JOP

The Juvenile Offender Project (JOP) is a collaborative effort between the Court, the Integrated Services Partnership of Lorain County, the Mental Health, Addiction, and Recovery( MHARS) Board, and Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau. This partnership provides an extensive assessment and psychological evaluation for juveniles currently involved with the Court, primarily for offenses of violence that have exhibited significant mental health symptoms. The evaluation is comprised of multiple testing tools, an assessment of the family system, a thorough review of medical charts and reports from previous service providers and school systems. The assessments may be done by Bellefaire JCB or a contracted service provider. Community resources are recommended and support services are put in place to assist the juvenile as well as the family.

Bellefaire also provides a JOP residential bed in collaboration with the Children’s Continuum of Care Committee (4C) when the need for inpatient treatment is indicated.

Community Control Officers are responsible for monitoring and assisting in the components of the case plans. The Court staff monitors and documents all contacts with the juvenile and family, attends staff meetings, makes home visits, participates in 4-C reviews, and provides transportation services when necessary. The Community Control Officer works closely with the JOP participants, their families and service providers.

For more information, contact I&R Program Manager – Jean Frantz (440) 329-5262

Adolescent Domestic Violence/Anger Management

The Adolescent Domestic Violence/Anger Management Program is a collaboration between Catholic Charities and the Court to provide an alternative to post-adjudication detention. When children involved in domestic violence are admitted to the DH or Turning Point, a social worker will screen, assess, and then provide group sessions to juveniles and families.

The Lorain County Juvenile Intake Department’s responsibilities include oversight of Diversion Services programming and supervision of juveniles placed on community control for status offenses, an act that would not be illegal if committed by an adult. Community control officers contacted the families, identified issues, and made referrals to appropriate community services. These youth were provided supervision and an opportunity for additional Court services.

Yes Program

The Youth Education Shoplifting Program (YES Program) is an educational, rehabilitative program offered to juveniles referred to Court for first time petty theft/shoplifting offenses. Participants are ordered into the program from both official and unofficial cases heard by the intake magistrates.

Eduvention/Substance Abuse Education Program

The Eduvention program is designed to provide drug and alcohol education and prevention services to juveniles and their parent/guardian. Services are geared towards youth who have been referred to the Court for misdemeanor alcohol or drug offenses. Juveniles and their parent/guardian can attend the four sessions of the program in lieu of a delinquency charge being filed. Eligible participants are typically, but not exclusively, first-time offenders. Some participants are court-ordered to attend the sessions, while others may be referred from local law enforcement via a police report provided to the Court. A record of their attendance is docketed into the record and charges are diverted.

LCADA Way

Lorain County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services (LCADA Way) provides, at no cost to the participants, education and prevention interventions, off-site from Court operations. Services are funded, in part, from grants through RECLAIM monies provided to the Court. Parent/Guardian(s) are required to attend the sessions with youth, in an effort to provide education to the entire family about the effects of drugs/alcohol on the adolescent brain and development. The goal is to learn prevention techniques and refusal strategies to deter future substance use. A screening instrument is administered to participants at the time of the first meeting to determine if there is a need for further referrals or treatment. After the orientation meeting with families, if some are identified as requiring additional interventions, the LCADA Way staff will refer them accordingly.

The Pay-Back Program

Restitution is an essential component in the rehabilitation process. It is also the means whereby victims find recourse through the justice system. Through this program, the offenders are held accountable for their financial obligations to victims.

The Pay-Back Program has four objectives:

  • Ensure the offender’s compliance with Court orders
  • Provide a work experience that allows the offender to make restitution
  • Provide victims with access to the Court for reasonable redress
  • Facilitate communication between the Court and all involved parties: victims, prosecutors, insurance companies, etc.

The process is initiated by a Court order for restitution. The program contacts the victims and they are required to supply the Court documentation for their loss.
Once the restitution amount is determined, the juvenile is given two payment options:

  1. Execution of a monitored, monthly payment schedule
  2. Placement in a court developed jobsite At the job site, juveniles are credited with minimum wage compensation and payment to the victim is made through the Lorain County Treasurer’s Office. The program partners with numerous jobsites throughout the county. The jobsites provide a work experience for the offenders and on site supervisors evaluate the offender’s work performance.

Psycho-Educational Groups

Psycho-Educational groups are interventions intended to reduce the risk factors associated with criminal behavior. The court uses evidence based programming to address criminogenic factors. Evidence based programs are those whose outcomes have been researched and found to be effective. Training is provided to staff to assist in the facilitation and presentation of these groups.

Strengthening Families 10-13 and 14-17

The Strengthening Families Program is a joint effort between Catholic Charities, LCADA, and the Lorain County Domestic Relations Court. Catholic Charities also provides a Spanish-speaking group. The program’s goals are to prepare youth for their teen years, avoid problems with drugs and alcohol, and strengthen family communication. Parents discuss what youth in the age range of their group are like, making rules and enforcing consequences, how to solve problems with youth, and ways to show love and support. The youth learn how to handle frustration, resist peer pressure, appreciate parent/caregivers, and how to get along with others.

Thinking For A Change

Thinking for a Change is a cognitive behavioral program that addresses problem solving, social skills, and cognitive self-change. The program utilizes role-plays, as well as other appropriate interventions. The goal is to change behavior as a result of changing thoughts.

Girls Circle

The Pathways to the Future curriculum is a skill building support circle for use with at-risk or court-involved girls. It examines thoughts, beliefs, and actions about friendship, trust, authority figures, mother/daughter relationships, sexuality, dating violence, HIV, drug abuse, stress and goal setting. It encourages girls to explore their choices and decision making through lively, prepared discussions and activities.

Boys Council

Boys Council is a strengths-based group approach to promote boys’ and young men’s healthy, safe development. The group encourages boys and young men to act safely, show respect in their relationships, develop a healthy perspective, see other’s points of view, use good judgment and identify goals and dreams.

Anger Management

The Court’s Education and Program Coordinator oversees two anger management programs. The programs provide basic and intermediate psycho-educational groups to aid juveniles and their parents in addressing anger issues. Anger Control Training, facilitated by Psychiatric and Psychological Services is a basic nine-week program, while Aggression Replacement Training, facilitated by court staff, is a more intensive ten week twenty sessions program.

Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP)

This psycho-educational program utilizes the Making Proud Choices curriculum to help youth learn to make safer and healthier life style choices by providing attendees with information regarding pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted diseases prevention, contraception, healthy relationships, education and career planning, healthy relationships, and financial literacy.

In Partnership with Lorain County Children Services

Family Drug Court

Family Drug Court is a collaborative program assisting parents battling addiction who are involved with Lorain County Children Services. The program is funded, in part, by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS). Parents who are involved with LCCS, have been diagnosed with a Substance Use Disorder and whose children have been adjudicated abused, neglected or dependent may be eligible for the program. Participation in Family Drug Court is voluntary, but upon agreeing to participate, the Participant Agreement is court ordered. Compliance is expected with all program components (including substance use treatment, mental health counseling, sober support/recovery supports engagement and LCCS case plan components). The ultimate goals are for participants to retain or regain custody of their children, working towards completion of the case plan components, and maintaining sobriety. The treatment team works closely with all participants to encourage compliance with programming to avoid the need for the agency to identify permanent family/relative placement, temporary custody, permanent custody, foster care or adoption.

The Family Drug Court team is comprised of the Honorable Judge Sherry L. Glass (who presides over the Family Drug Court), Program Coordinator, Court Case Manager, Defense Counsel, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Treatment Counselor from LCADA, a representative from Voices for Children (guardian ad litem program), Elyria YWCA, Faith House, the Nord Center, a LCCS Supervisor and 2 designated Caseworkers from Lorain County Children Services. Collaboration between agencies provides In-Kind services addressing drug/alcohol dependency, parenting skills, domestic violence awareness, life skills, employment assistance and assistance in identifying sober living/housing. Mental health counseling is also an integral part of the program to enlist a more holistic recovery program.  Also available for questions are Specialized Docket PO II, Courtney Porter (440) 329-5698 or LCCS Supervisor, Halle Tansing (440) 329-5340.

The Family Drug Court is a specialized docket as outlined by the Rules of Superintendence and the Ohio Supreme Court. For more information on possible eligibility, please reach out to the Direct Services Caseworker assigned to the Children Services case.

Program duration is typically 9-12 months, with the youth’s case being sealed and expunged from their court record at the time of graduation.
The Juvenile MHC received ongoing certification and recognition as a Specialized Docket as outlined by the Rules of Superintendence and the Ohio Supreme Court. Judge Lisa I. Swenski presides over the Mental Health Court team.