BEXAR COUNTY, Texas -- The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday an award of $230,000 to Bexar County Juvenile Probation to help alleviate gang activity and to provide specialized treatment for gang-involved teens and their families.
- 594 young people reported to be in a gang
- Provides support for a new specialty“Juntos Court”
- Children ages 10 to 17 years old
“We have a strong history of receiving federal support for our juvenile initiatives in Bexar County,” said Juvenile Board Chair, Judge Lisa Jarrett of the 436th Juvenile District Court. “This is another example of the county taking a creative approach toward problem solving to better meet the needs of justice involved children and their families.”
According to statistics from the Bexar County Juvenile Probation Department, in 2018, 594 of the young people who passed through its system self-reported as being involved in gangs.
The grant funds will be used to support intensive individual and family counseling for teens in gangs or at high-risk of gang involvement in Bexar County.
The counseling also provides support for a new specialty court docket called the “Juntos Court”, which stands for Juveniles United Navigating Through Obstacles Successfully.
“Kids in gangs are running away from their problems to what seems like a better place,” Judge Carlos Quezada, 289th Juvenile District Court explained. “This specialized counseling gives us a chance to show them how to address their problems in a healthier way, and an opportunity to offer the family more support to help turn their child away from the false promises of the gang.”
Children eligible for these services are high-risk, high-need children ages 10 to 17 years old, who are under Juvenile Court supervision. They will enter the program with a supportive adult who agrees to be an active participant in the process.
The judge retains primary responsibility for monitoring compliance and administering incentives and sanctions during a court docket held twice a month.
Decisions will be made by input from the participants, as well as the treatment team, consisting of Bexar County Juvenile Probation Department’s Gang Unit and District Attorney’s Office staff, defense attorneys, a home-based treatment provider and other service agencies.
This program joins nine other specialty court programs offered for youth in Bexar County.