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Ramsey County funds youth diversion programs

  • December 22, 2012 - 5:58 PM

The Ramsey County Board on Wednesday approved $225,000 for juvenile diversion programs in 2013-14 that officials hope will take a proactive approach in keeping youthful nonviolent offenders in school and out of trouble.

Commissioners approved $125,000 for programs by St. Paul Youth Services in St. Paul and Maplewood, $70,000 for programs by Northwest Youth and Family Services in other suburbs, and $30,000 for special projects by 180 Degrees.

County Attorney John Choi -- whose office oversees funding this year -- said that diversion programs will require juvenile offenders to do community service, make sure they go to school and seek to improve their relationships with parents or other adult role models.

"We need to find parents and get them to show up for diversion programs," he said.

Offenders typically are guilty of such things as curfew violations or underage drinking. On average, 550 juveniles have been referred to county diversion programs annually in the last three years.

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