Juvenile Court handles more than 800 caes in 2020

SIDNEY — The Sidney County Juvenile Court handles delinquencies, traffic, unruly, paternity, truancy and abuse, neglect and dependency cases. It also handles custody of children of unwed parents, visitation and child support.

Judge Jeffrey Beigel has submitted the following report:

In 2020 the Court was busy handling over 828 matters consisting of: 15% delinquencies, 26% traffic, 13% abuse, neglect and dependency, 6% unruly, 1% permanent custody, 36% custody, visitation & child support, 3% parentage, and 1% other matters. Probation also handled cases referred to its diversion program for qualifying first-time offenders. Overall, the number of cases was slightly lower but generally consistent with 2019. Attorney Steven Geise also serves as part-time Magistrate.

In 2020, the court generated $100,354.41 in collected revenue to the general fund, a 10% increase compared to 2019.

The court successfully met the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and instituted a wide range of protocols for public and staff safety and to ensure the continuity of Court operations. Based upon grants and other funding the Court established video conferencing and off-site systems for remote access to the court for hearings, work-from-home scheduling and marriage license applications.

Overall the operational changes to the court were significant and the staff is commended for meeting the challenges in a professional manner that ensured consistent and timely services to the public.

The Court’s new Community Service program met with great success by expanding opportunities for meaningful projects at a youth’s school, village, township, city, and other non-profit organizations.

The success of the Juvenile Traffic Court diversion/education program for first time minor traffic violations is favorably reflected by a low rate re-offending of 5%.

CASA continues to play an integral role in abuse, neglect and dependency cases and Victim Services continues to provide essential services for victims in delinquency cases.

Probation remained active with various programs and partnerships to assist youth, including Family Resource Center, Shelby County Animal Shelter, Alpha Center, Catholic Social Services, Girls Circle, Park Projects, United Way and its newly establish Council for Boys.

The Court’s School Liaison, Amy Simindinger, continued to work closely with the Court, schools and youths to ensure a collaborative approach in dealing with at-risk youth.

In 2020 the Court continued its success in reducing the need for detention services over historical averages. The Court’s focus on early intervention and mental health counseling helped reduce the need and significant costs for detention and long-term commitment programs. A newly established Court Navigator position now assists with numerous referrals to help facilitate these goals.

As a member of the Ohio Judicial Conference’s Juvenile Law & Procedure Committee I regularly attended meetings to provide input on proposed legislation, trends and issues that may affect our local court.