SIDNEY — Shelby 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.
“In 2019 the Juvenile Court was busy, handling over 986 matters, consisting of 18 percent delinquencies, 29 percent traffic, 11 percent abuse, neglect and dependency, 5 percent unruly, 1 percent adult related, 1 percent permanent custody, 15 percent custody, visitation and child support, 16 percent parentage, and 4 percent other miscellaneous matters,” sai Judge Jeff Beigel. “Based upon prior year’s improvements, the probation department handled more cases referred through its diversion program for many first-time juvenile offenders. Overall, the number and types of cases were generally consistent with 2018. Attorney Steven Geise also serves to assist the court as a juvenile magistrate.”
His report continues:
The Juvenile Traffic Court continued its third year with its traffic diversion/education program for first time minor traffic violations. The program’s success is favorably reflected by a low rate re-offending of 13 percent.
In 2019, the Court generated $90,882.78 in collected revenue to the general fund, a slight 8 percent decrease from 2018.
The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), led by Bridget Davis, continues to play an integral role in the court’s approach to abuse, neglect and dependency cases.
Based upon a grant from the State’s RECLAIM Ohio program the court was able to establish two significant staff positions.
The first was a mental health counselor to play a critical role in the court’s early evaluation of a youth’s personal or family issues.
The second was a community service coordinator to supervise and develop meaningful projects for youths who are assigned community service with a focus on projects at the youth’s school, village, township, city, or other community organization.
In 2019 the Court successfully reduced the need for detention services by 32 percent. The Court’s focus on early intervention and the availability of the RECLAIM Ohio grant were important in reducing the county’s need, and significant costs, for detention and long-term commitment programs for youth offenders. Disposition alternatives for youth offenders can include diversion, counseling, probation, community service, detention and long term-rehabilitation or commitment.
Probation remained active with youth through the various programs and partnerships, including with the Family Resource Center (counseling), the Shelby County Animal Shelter (community service), the Alpha Center (Victory Garden), the Catholic Social Services (counseling), Girls Circle (group counseling), Piper Park Project (community service), United Way Day of Action (community service) and the Court’s Community Service Program.
The court conducted its annual outreach to the schools to ensure a collaborative approach in dealing with at-risk youth. The court’s School Liaison Amy Simindinger continues to work closely with the Court, schools and juveniles to oversee progress, including various requested school presentations on topics such as bullying.
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. Juvenile clerks also participated in the Ohio Association of Juvenile Clerks Conference.
The court also saw the retirement of one of its family. Deputy Clerk Julie Stewart retired in December. She will be missed.
As always, the court’s annual report for the completed year will be published in the second quarter of this year and can be accessed at https://co.shelby.oh.us/juvenile-court/.
I also serve as judge of the Shelby County Probate Court. That annual progress report is published separately in this progress edition.