State and Local Leaders Show their Commitment to Youth With the Dedication of the Lenoir County Youth Development Center
The second of four replacement youth development centers to open across the State in 2008 was dedicated today in Lenoir County. Community members, lawmakers, government officials, juvenile justice representatives, and school officials were all on hand to celebrate as Secretary George L. Sweat of the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention stated, “a new day for juvenile justice in North Carolina.”
Sweat added, “This replacement facility demonstrates to the young people served by the Department that this State has not given up on them and we believe they can be successful. I thank our State leaders for making this commitment to our youth not only by allocating the money to build this replacement facility, but by also increasing the salaries of the staff who will work in this facility. We know that bricks are not enough to change lives; it takes caring and dedicated staff building relationships with youth.”
The replacement facilities will be the foundation of a more therapeutic approach to providing services to our youth and their families, with the intent of a community-oriented juvenile justice system. By building smaller, community-based facilities throughout the State, the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention will be able to more effectively assist youth with the skills they need to become productive citizens in North Carolina’s communities.
In addition to the replacement facility being dedicated today in Lenoir County three other replacement youth development centers are also near completion including two other 32 bed facilities in Edgecombe County and Chatham County, and a 96 bed facility in Cabarrus County. The Department has also just been given permission to begin construction on a 32 bed facility in Rockingham County.
The Department will also call upon community members to volunteer to assist the youth served by this facility. The Department has seen that youth who have a strong community support structure are much more likely to be successful. If community members are interested in volunteering, they may contact the Department.
The new Lenoir County youth development center will house 32 youth in four different eight bed housing units. A blended education-treatment Model of Care will serve as the programming they receive.
The Lenoir County youth development center was built at a cost of approximately $6 million and will have annual operating budget of slightly over $3 million.