Cass County Board: County's child placement services reviewed
BACKUS--Cass County Probation Director Jim Schneider introduced Mindy O'Brien, the new director of Northwestern Minnesota Juvenile Center at Bemidji, to the county board Tuesday.
BACKUS-Cass County Probation Director Jim Schneider introduced Mindy O'Brien, the new director of Northwestern Minnesota Juvenile Center at Bemidji, to the county board Tuesday.
Cass is one of eight member counties represented on an executive board, which oversees the center.
Courts sentence juvenile offenders to the center's secure and non-secure detention units.
Human services and probation may refer anyone age 10 to 18 who has emotional problems to its residential treatment services.
Northwestern Minnesota Juvenile Center also has satellite houses where youth can transition from a treatment program before being allowed to go home. Bemidji School District provides on-site schooling for those at the center.
The vast majority of Cass residents referred to the center are ages 13 to 17, with a peak at age 15, according to their 2016 annual report.
The largest number of those served last year came from Beltrami County (196), but Cass referred the next highest number (69). Non-member counties also may use the center's services.
Crow Wing, as a non-member, sent 48 youth to the center in 2016.
That was the highest non-member usage among 13 non-member counties and Indian reservations.
Northwestern provided services for a daily average of 50 to 60 youth in 2016.
O'Brien said they plan to start a chemical dependency treatment service this year.
Cass County spent $2,522,767 on out of home placements in 2016, according to Schneider's report. Of that, $433,874 or 17 percent went for services Northwestern Minnesota Juvenile Center provided to Cass youth.
In 2016, the county spent $1,130,367 on children placed in foster homes, $716,278 for children in correctional facilities, $325,994 for children in group homes, $220,185 for respite care and home monitoring for youth and $129,943 for emergency shelters.
Cass County has used a screening team to determine the best placement option for children probation and human services place outside their own homes.
On the team are one county board member and representatives from probation, the sheriff's office, social services, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and a mental health professional and a guardian ad litem.
The greatest number the team recommended to out of home placement came as a result of neglect, followed by behavioral issues, then abuse, then mental health issues.
Acting Health, Human and Veterans Services Director Michelle Piprude said Legislative changes design to better protect children led in 2016 to a significant increase in children placed outside their own homes due to neglect, but it also reflects the significant problem parental opioid and methamphetamine use has caused.