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State Pours $1.2M Into Orange County To Keep Kids From Entering Juvenile Justice System


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Most kids who are stopped by the police are taken to the intake area at Orange County's Juvenile Assessment Center in downtown Orlando, once a hub for juvenile arrests. Photo: Joey Roulette.

Most kids who are stopped by the police are taken to the intake area at Orange County's Juvenile Assessment Center in downtown Orlando, once a hub for juvenile arrests. Photo: Joey Roulette.

Orange County will receive $1.2 million from the Florida Department of Children & Families to help keep kids ages 13 to 15 from entering the juvenile justice system. The Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Reinvestment Grant will go toward continuing and expanding the Orange County’s Wraparound Orange program for three more years.

Wraparound Orange, in conjunction with the county’s new Youth Mental Health Commission, focuses on making mental health and substance abuse treatment more accessible and effective to youth with high needs.

“Some kids could be exposed to trauma, while others may have a mental health disorder that is not uncommon to that family. There may be generations of mental health issues,” said Donna Wyche, the manager of Mental Health & Homeless Issues in Orange County’s Family Services Department.

With the money, health services staff also plans to focus efforts on referring kids and their families to the services tailored to their needs.

“The state of Florida, there’s not nearly enough funding for the many people who need care, so by having this grant, we can really make an impact on our kids and families,” added Wyche.

This is the second time Orange County has received the state grant. It is geared toward helping kids who have committed a small offense for the first time and need help and  for adults who risk entering the criminal justice system.


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About Renata Sago

Renata Sago

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