Greene County Juvenile Office seeing decrease in referrals; using data to analyze trends

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 7:50 PM CDT
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GREENE COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - The Greene County Juvenile Office says there has been a steady decline of crime by young people.

The office said it has also seen fewer referrals lately. Those declines are statewide trends, and the office in Greene County is trying to better understand those trends so it can improve its services.

Back in 2017, juvenile offices saw a bit of a shift after adopting some new standards and procedures.

“We adopted the Juvenile Office Performance Standards,” said Rachel Hogan, the Director of Quality Services at the Greene County Juvenile Office. “The biggest shift, specifically on the juvenile delinquency side is that we’ve dramatically reduced the number of youth that end up with a state record. Only cases that end up being legally sufficient, meaning that the charges were reviewed by an attorney and determined by law that the charge actually happened, get put into the state record.”

It’s a trend in the right direction. The Greene County Office still does get referrals, though.

“But we have more of an opportunity to serve them through a voluntary basis, by just providing services to that family, whether it’s individual, trying to connect them with individual counseling, family counseling, or some sort of treatment that’s going to help with their behavior management,” Hogan said.

While the office tries to improve its services, it received some national recognition for its use of data to understand these current trends.

”Prior to May of 2021, there really was just one professional in Greene County that was kind of working on data analysis,” Hogan said.

Now the office has a whole unit doing this.

”We’re being nationally recognized, because really, we are the only jurisdiction of this size across the nation to have such a robust data management unit,” she said.

Hogan said the unit works to understand what we’re seeing here in Greene County, so it can enhance its services.

”Being able to know if we’re making change in the families for better outcomes,” she said. “Are the services that we’re providing, you know, getting the intended result? Are we seeing behavior change with youth? Are we seeing those youth come back into our system through a re-offense?”

Hogan said this new unit has allowed the office to make better decisions and adjustments, aiming to keep juvenile crime down and increase outreach efforts.

“We’ve been able to kind of churn out some reports, even in just this nine month period of time, that are much more polished than kind of what you might see in similar cities to Springfield,” Hogan described.

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