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ETCOG disperses grants for juvenile mental evaluations

By Robin Y. Richardson ryrichardson@news-journal.com
Jan. 21, 2013 at 11 p.m.

The East Texas Council of Governments distributed nearly $54,000 in grant awards to Northeast Texas counties for psychological and psychiatric evaluations for juveniles.

Gregg County was awarded $7,760; Harrison County was allocated $4,250; Marion County received $1,000 and Panola was given $1,470.

The dollar amounts, according to ETCOG officials, were calculated using 2010 census data at a rate of 50 cents per child with a $1,000 minimum allocation amount.

"For many years, the East Texas Council of Governments has administered a 'Regional Juvenile Detention Project' funded by a grant from the Governor's Office, Criminal Justice Division through the state Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Fund," ETCOG's Director of Public Safety, Stephanie Heffner said.

Changes in funding requirements for fiscal year 2013 excluded juvenile detention services from funding, Heffner said, meaning ETCOG could not longer reimburse the region's juvenile probation departments for housing costs.

Heffner said after consulting with them on their most costly needs, ETCOG's regional grant has been restructured to pay for psychological and psychiatric evaluations for juveniles instead.

She said the evaluations help ensure that East Texas juvenile offenders receive the best path for their overall treatment. After being evaluated, juveniles can receive services paid for by their home county for the following: GED classes; tutoring; anger management, substance abuse counseling; sexual abuse counseling; professional therapy and/or mental health counseling as needed.

The grant ends Aug. 31.



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