Blog: DPS Dispatch

Raise the Age – which increased the age of juvenile jurisdiction to include 16 and 17-year-old children – is bringing an older population in need of services to the Juvenile Justice section of the N.C. Department of Public Safety. The section’s Juvenile Community Programs unit has answered this call for services recently with the opening of a new transitional home in Winston-Salem.

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Findings published last month following a year-long independent study evaluating the food environments of North Carolina’s juvenile justice facilities indicate that staff are invested in the children in their care, meet child nutrition program requirements for all daily meals and feel that their role in promoting child health and wellness is important. 

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All too often, we find news media covering tragic shootings in communities across the nation. Senseless gun violence has become a part of everyday dialogue in American society. But some positive efforts of dedicated people working within Juvenile Justice are ongoing to educate kids and keep North Carolinians safer.

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Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed this week, Oct. 13-19, as Juvenile Justice week in North Carolina. What is Juvenile Justice, though? Let’s take a quick look at this section within the Department of Public Safety and learn about the special work it carries out for the children, families and communities of our state. What is Juvenile Justice?

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Have you ever lost a job? Have you ever wondered whether you had the skills/education to find a job? Have you ever simply felt alone in a strange town without a safety net of family or friends? Consider shouldering all three of those scenarios simultaneously. A young person transitioning out of the juvenile justice system may feel the weight of all these pressures (along with the additional stigma that may accompany having been held in secure custody).

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When the age of juvenile jurisdiction increases (also known as Raise the Age) on Dec. 1, 2019, there will be new faces aplenty. Included among those are obviously the faces of the older youths that Juvenile Justice will now be serving, but they won’t be the first faces to show up. With Raise the Age comes the growing need to serve more kids, so we need new staff faces! William Lassiter, Deputy Secretary for Juvenile Justice, believes “opportunities for people to find a career in this field are continuing to emerge, so now is the time to bring your skills to our mission.”

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(CONCORD) Games are found throughout our daily lives. Some games are played simply for amusement and fun, while others are often played to pass on skills and lessons to the next generation. Games are also used to teach us about ourselves. Such is the case for Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center staff psychologist, Jerica McIntyre, who incorporated the creation and use of a board game into psychotherapy for one of the juveniles in her care.

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 ‘Tis the season for love, fellowship and coming together. It’s the time we tally our blessings and hope for more in the future. I write with a bit of reflection, a forecast and, as we live together in communities across the state, a call to mission – to find harmony with our neighbors and lift up those who may have been saddled with misfortune during this year of 2018.

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Storm Response Series: While North Carolina braced for Hurricane Florence, numerous NC Public Safety agencies joined in the storm preparations, response and recovery. Today's blog provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the efforts of the juvenile justice employees.  

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Last month, 25 male students from Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center spent a day at Frank Liske Park in Concord training with Carolina Panthers players and staff, including Mario Addison (All-Pro starting defensive end) and Kawann Short (starting defensive tackle). The excitement was evident as the players exited the bus to meet the young men. Watch video here.

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Society today oftentimes judges programmatic success from data and trend lines, but when it comes to Juvenile Justice, focusing purely on analytics and spreadsheets makes it easy to forget the Section’s mission to intervene and shape tangible change in the lives of REAL people. Presenting young people with opportunities to experience confidence-building success helps reduce factors that create adult offenders out of North Carolina’s best resource – our children.

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