- Associated Press - Monday, January 23, 2017

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas lawmaker says a program focused on getting more children out of juvenile detention centers and into foster care is falling behind schedule.

Republican Rep. Russ Jennings tells the Lawrence Journal-World (https://bit.ly/2j5fHDF ) that the Juvenile Justice Reform Act missed the first implementation deadline due to technical and outlier issues. Jennings, who chairs the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee, says more delays are possible because state officials are continuing to realize some key systems are still not in place.

Jennings says the Legislature will continue to discuss the state Department for Children and Families’ concerns regarding funding and staff shortages, but he is confident JJRA will eventually find better places for children to receive rehabilitation.

The bill is expected to go into effect by 2019.

Randy Bowman, director of community-based services for the KDOC, said in late December that the organization asked for an extra month or two “fully vet through policy issues” before it and the Office of Judicial Administration make formal recommendations to state agencies.

Bowman said the problem areas include the Immediate Intervention Program, which allows certain children, often without criminal records and who have committed low-level crimes, to avoid formal charges being filed against them. According to Jennings, there is no centralized database where prosecutors can look up a child’s criminal history.

The other issue is developing a Detention Risk Assessment Instrument, which would use scores to determine whether a child will be incarcerated or not.

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, https://www.ljworld.com

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