Howard County, IN

Early Intervention Programs

Alcohol Drug Education Consultants (ADEC)
Personal Development Program (PDP)
Attendance Court
Volunteer Service Program
Status Offender Alternative Program (SOAP)

Operation Fire Stop

The Kokomo Fire Department sponsors the evaluation and education program for those youth, of any age, experimenting or are involved in fire related incidents. Operation Fire Stop focuses on the importance of identification and treatment of these children stressing the importance of protecting families and communities from a serious and costly problem . The goal of the program for the Kokomo Fire Department is to make Kokomo and Howard County Indiana safe by providing a thorough evaluation and education program. Through this process, mental health referrals are offered in serious cases.   

For more information contact the Kokomo Fire Department at (765) 457-2636 for e-mail firestop@cityofkokomo.org 

Mentoring Adolescents In Need (MAIN) Focus

The MAIN (Mentoring Adolescents In Need) Focus is a specialized mentoring program for youths in the community with special needs and problems. This program was developed in a joint effort between the Howard Circuit Court, United Way Information and Referral Volunteer Action Center, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. The purpose of this mentoring program is to serve youths in the community that have been involved in the Court process as either a Child in Need of Service (CHINS) or a delinquent. The specific youths being targeted are those individuals who have had limited contact with the Court, are non-violent, and who could benefit from a positive role model in their lives. 
 
In a recent publication by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) it was suggested “mentoring programs for disadvantaged children and adolescents have received serious attention as a promising approach to enriching children’s lives, addressing their need for positive adult contact, and providing one on one support and advocacy for those who need it.” Within this publication, a study was conducted indicating: mentored youth were 46 percent less likely to initiate drug use; 27 percent less likely to initiate alcohol use; almost one-third less likely to hit someone; skipped half as many days of school, felt more confident about doing school work and showed modest gains in their grade point average; improved the quality of their relationship with their parents; and improved relationships with their peers. 
 
The main focus of this program can be identified by the following objectives:
  • To prevent youth from further penetrating the juvenile court system;
  • To support at-risk youth who are having difficult in school;
  • To provide caring, mature adults for guidance and role modeling;
  • To offset the effects of family problems;
  • To encourage community involvement in guiding at-risk youth. 
The present structure of the MAIN Focus is to have the mentor and the at-risk youth participate in a group function each month and further have at least an individual self-guided contact each month. Prior to involvement with the at-risk youth, mentors are required to complete an application, a background study and self-biography; attend and complete a 21-hour training program; and have a willingness to participate in the programming for this diverse population.
 
For more information or to volunteer call:
Don Travis, Chief Juvenile Probation Officer
(765) 456-2222
 

Recruitment and Training

Recruitment for the Main Focus shall be conducted through the solicitation of community volunteers. By utilizing a media blitz, the network of community agencies, and word of mouth, volunteers will be recruited and trained to work with this population of juveniles.
 
Qualifications for one-on-one volunteers shall include:
  • Complete application and reference check
  • At least 21 years of age
  • Pass criminal background screening
  • Be willing to complete training course
  • Have a tremendous amount of patience
  • Be willing to commit to program goals and minimum hours of commitment
 
Due to the specific needs and problems with the youths identified to participate and benefit from have a mentor the following training program has been established. Each training cycle shall consist of seven training topics totaling 21 hours of education.
 
  • Introduction to the program/Roles and Responsibilities
  • Juvenile Court Philosophy and Processes
  • Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Communication
  • Building Trust/Bonding
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Safety 
In regard to programming, each mentor and youth will be required to attend a group function once a month, which may include, but is not limited to, activities at the Kinsey Youth Center (softball, basketball, etc…..) and an individual, one on one, contact each month, for an approximate contact time of 6 to 8 hours. 

Victim’s Impact Panel

The Victim’s Impact Pane was designed as a tool for youth offenders to be held accountable by victims and the community. This program allows victims to share the impact of hurt, anger, and fear due to youth offenses. This panel provides a safe environment for victims and offenders to confront and resolve the conflict created from the offense(s) committed by youths. 
 
Over the past twenty years, the Balanced Approach Restorative Justice (BARJ) has been developed to allow for juvenile offenders to “restore” themselves to the community and have them understand they are part of a larger community. The specific focus of BARJ is to restore the health of the community and that the offender can, and must, contribute to that restoration. The Howard County BARJ model utilizes the Victim Impact Panel as a tool to provide offender accountability, to involve victims with consideration for their needs, and to encourage repentant offenders to earn their way back into the good graces of the community.
 
The victim is provided with a safe environment to confront their offender (or confront one or groups of offenders which are not necessarily their perpetrator) and talk about the anger and hurt caused by the offender. The offender is also provided with a positive environment that will enable them to understand the impact of their offenses. The mediation environment will also enable the offender to feel anxiety about having to face their victim’s and in turn, will heighten the sense of responsibility and increase the reparative aspects.
 
Through studies conducted to monitor the BARJ concept and the Victim Impact’s Panel, results have shown there is an increase in community involvement through a more personal process, a more direct involvement of offenders and the potential for improved juvenile justice systems. Studies have shown that 50% fewer victims who have participated in the mediation process of a Victim’s Impact Panel have a fear of revictiminization by the same offender compared to victims who had not participated in this process. Lastly, offenders report a sense of personal growth, and victims a sense of closure. 
 
To further expand the traditional mediation process, a presentation is made regarding the circumstances created by offenses. The presentation are given by both victims and offenders. This form of presentation allows for the Victim’s Impact Panel to provide services to several offenders and personalize accountability with non-mediation offenders.