In the monthly meeting of the Ashe County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, members discussed a summary report provided by the council’s Risk and Needs Assessment Committee.
“Our planning committee met last week and went through all of the data,” said Grier Hurley, chair for the council. “You can see we’ve had some decreases in activity of our youth, but in the majority we’ve had some increases.”
According to the assessment, there has been an increase of children who are now in the “medium risk,” “medium needs” and “high needs” compared to previous years. All three demographics are above the state level.
For example, the age for first delinquent offense alleged in a complaint (12) is 17 percent in Ashe County compared to 14 percent in the state’s average. That means, 17 percent of crimes committed by those 18 and under were committed by children under the age of 12.
In Ashe County, children in the high needs level was at 6 percent during the 2012-13 FY, and the state level was at 4 percent. The high needs in the county is up from 1 percent in 2010-11 and 2 percent in 2011-12.
Hurley said there should be some concern over the statistics due to Ashe having a smaller population than many of the other counties.
Bill Davis, chief court councilor of the 23rd Judicial District (covering Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes and Yadkin counties) also gave his input on the findings of the Committee. He mentioned the county’s high suicide rate and cyber bullying to be major concerns, and how help for mental health issues is not in the county.
“Mental health residential services serving the county are outside the county,” he said.
Davis said the committee gauged the level of needs and risks amongst juveniles by doing assessments of kids that come in through the court system.
“It just means for the group of kids coming through at that particular time, we are seeing a lot higher scores,” he said. “That could be due to several different factors.”
Hurley mentioned those factors could be substance abuse, parental supervision and a family history of crimes. Mental health is also a big factor for children being in trouble.
“I don’t know if it is parents saying ‘I don’t care about my kid,’ I don’t think that is it,” Hurley said. “It is more like they don’t know what to do, that it is too big for what their abilities are.”
According to the risk factor observations by the Risk and Needs Assessment Committee, youth with parents willing but unable to supervise was at 26 percent in 2012-13, an increase from 15 percent in 2011-12. In 2012-13, 17 percent of youth had parents unwilling to supervise, while the state average was 2 percent.
The council unanimously approved a plan for what services they want to be approved as funding priorities for the 2014-15 FY.
In other action:
—Monitoring teams were assigned by the JCPC
—Minutes from the October meeting were looked over and approved
—The next meeting of the Ashe County JCPC will take place Tuesday, Feb. 25.
The Ashe County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council approved proposing these following services as funding priorities in FY 2014-15:
— Parent/family skills
— Interpersonal Skills
— Mentoring and peer mentoring
— Restitution / community service
— Psychological assessment
— Group home
— Temporary shelter
— Specialized foster care
— Substance abuse prevention / assessment / treatment
— General Counseling