On The Road
"On the Road" is a monthly column. It will feature Project Fresh Light Strategic Consultants Judy Adrian and Carol Lobes as they make their travels through several Wisconsin counties that are partnering with Project Fresh Light. They are charged with identifying and defining a baseline of treatment services related to adolescent substance abuse and co-occurring mental health conditions in those counties.
As we’ve travelled to over 20 counties in Wisconsin, we’ve seen some pretty powerful community partnerships that are making a difference for AODA-challenged adolescents. It is clear that the work of formal service providers, both county-sponsored and private, are exponentially enhanced by an engaged and active community coalition. As we struggle for additional resources, these community partnerships are clearly an effective and important strategy.
One example of the vibrant community partnerships that we have heard about can be found in Jefferson County. Its Delinquency Prevention Council has broad representation; it sponsors a number of targeted programs that are showing positive outcomes.
The Delinquency Prevention Council was established in 1996 in order to create “awareness and understanding of delinquency, its causes and effects and then to move to build best practice methods to deal with it in Jefferson County.” The Council is made up of a variety of volunteer community members, including representatives from law enforcement, social service agencies, schools, government and the community at large. Agencies include United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Community Action Coalition, and Head Start. UW-Whitewater representatives also attend. Communities represented include Watertown, Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, and Palmyra.
The Delinquency Prevention Council is made up of a number of area individuals and organizations that support innovative programs and a variety of juvenile-justice- related activities aimed at addressing problems associated with delinquency. One program of interest to our readers is the Teen Court. Teens who have committed minor offenses are referred. A high number of referred youth have AODA issues. The judge is either a municipal judge or the district attorney. Peers act as jury and attorneys for offenders. Community service, AODA classes and letters of apology are among the possible penalties.
In addition to its web site, the Council also sponsors (from the Jefferson County Human Services Department Organizational and Programmatic Study – May, 2007):
The Council is always looking for grants to improve processes relating to AODA and parenting education.
This is just one example of the county and local community partnerships that are focused and effective. We applaud all of you who are working to foster the involvement of a broad cross section of community stakeholders!