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Cleveland County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council provides a vital service to our area

It's an unfortunate fact that sometimes youths become involved in activities or lifestyles that cause them to come in contact with the court system or other agencies and that's where the Cleveland County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) often steps up to help.
Cleveland County JCPC is made up of an eclectic blend of agencies including PORT (Providing Opportunities in Recovery for Teens), Common Sense Parenting, HandUp Solutions, Juvenile Mediation, Cleveland County Teen Court, Cleveland County Restitution & Community Service, Cleveland Early Intervention, Kids at Work!, and Adversity Impact Assessment.
JCPC has identified a variety of youth-centric services needed in Cleveland County including: Individual/Group/Mixed Counseling, Interpersonal Skill Building, Services addressing Problem Sexual Behavior, Mentoring, psychological Assessment, Family Counseling, and Tutoring/Academic Enhancement.
Funding for JCPC comes from the State of North Carolina. All 100 counties are included in the funding disbursement. For 2023-2024. Cleveland County received $340,063 which was granted to five agencies providing nine different programs.
Sara Brunner, District 27 Chief Court Counselor, explained how the money is given out.
"The funding is based on the county's juvenile population, and the services that get funded are based off of risk/need data for court involved and at risk youth" she said. "The money is allocated by the NC General Assembly to the N.C. Dept. of Public Safety. We receive our disbursement from the Community Programs Section of the Division of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the funding is managed by Cleveland County Finance."
Volunteerism is at the heart of JCPC. Volunteer Margie Christopher stressed that fact.
"The whole council is made up of volunteers from the agencies," she said. "This whole process involves a village."

On June 5, JCPC members met at the Cleveland Country Club to celebrate the organization's good work and to recognize folks who played an especially important role in it.
At the appreciation banquet, representatives of each of the funded agencies reported on their activities of the past year. The list included Derrick Harris of Freedom House reporting on PORT (substance abuse services), Common Sense Parenting and Hand Up Solutions; Beth Fox of the Mediation Center reporting on Teen Court, Juvenile Mediation and Community Service and Restitution; Rodney Borders from Cleveland County Schools reporting on Cleveland Early Interventions; Kimberly Townsend from ASPIRE reporting on Kids at Work and Dawn Stover from CORE services reporting on Adversity Impact Assessments.
Certificates of appreciation were given to Sherrie Geer, Chair of the Monitoring Committee, Kevin Oliver, Chair of the Planning Committee and Margie Christopher, Chair of the Allocations Committee. Jamey Davis, Chair of JCPC thanked each for their leadership then recognized all members of the Council for their service.
The Juvenile Court Counselor staff were thanked for their service to the youth of Cleveland County and to their supervisor who is Brunner.
A special award went to Greg Ledford, owner of Community First Media Group. Ledford was given a plaque of appreciation from Christopher. The recognition was for the fact that Ledford publishes twice a year and free of charge in the Kings Mtn. Herald and Shelby Shopper an ad announcing the availability of JCPC funds and the information on how to apply for them.
Christopher explained why Ledford was honored.
"We are required to notify non-profits and the general public when funds become available," she said. "Greg has for at least twenty years published this information. He's been very generous to the council in getting the information out."
Ledford says he is amazed at the work the JCPC does.
"It is a great honor to be part of the JCPC's success and to help them," he said. "I am blown away by the number of programs that JCPC funds and impressed by how dedicated our law enforcement is engaged with the program. To hear the success stories from JCPC shows how vital its hard work is to our youth and our community."
The excellent evening of accolades and amiability concluded with a report by Melissa Johnson, JCPC Area Consultant, who spoke about the NC SAFE campaign, a state level initiative for securing firearms.
Here's more information on Cleveland County Juvenile Crime Prevention Committee agencies and programs.
PORT: Sponsoring Agency: Freedom House of Mecklenburg
Contact Information:
Derrick Harris,
Component: SubstanceAbuse Counseling
Providing Opportunities in Recovery for Teens (PORT) Program provides Substance use screenings, assessments, evaluations, counseling, community-based interventions, and urinalysis for juvenile court involved youth experiencing challenges with substance use. The CADC/CPS, LCAS-A, or CADC-R provides counseling during crisis, counsel youth in the community, assist the family in arranging other services, and assists with transportation when necessary and appropriate.
Common Sense Parenting: Sponsoring Agency: Freedom House of Mecklenburg
Contact Information:
Derrick Harris,
Common Sense Parenting is a practical, skill-based parenting program that can be applied to every family. The program's logical strategies and easy-to-learn techniques address issues of communication, discipline, decision-making, relationships, self-control and school success. Our target population is court involved youth 6-17 years of age who are involved with juvenile court and ordered or referred to complete family counseling as part of juvenile court diversion/probation.
HandUp Solutions: Sponsoring Agency: Freedom House of Mecklenburg
Contact Information:
Derrick Harris,
HandUp Solutions is a community-based workforce preparedness program for youth involved with juvenile services. The program provides clear exploration and assessment services, and the opportunity to develop soft skills necessary for the workplace. HandUp Solutions helps youth and their families in completing conditions of their probation. The staff work closely with juvenile justice services to assess the needs of each involved youth to prepare them for success in the workforce.
Juvenile Mediation: Sponsoring Agency: Mediation Center of the Southern Piedmont
Contact Information: Beth Fox, bfox@mediationcsp.com or, Anne Harrelson, aharrelson@mediationcsp.com, 704-868-9576
Component: Mediation/Conflict Resolution: Restorative Justice Conferencing leads young offenders to take responsibility for their actions by learning and understanding the impact and consequences of their actions and sends them a clear message about accountability. Positive Impact classes are part of the process. These classes give youth the tools to realize the harm their actions have caused, enable them to make better choices and allow them to be accountable for their actions and choices.
Cleveland County Teen Court: Sponsoring Agency: Mediation Center of the Southern Piedmont. Contact Information: Beth Fox, bfox@mediationcsp.com 704-868-9576
Component: Teen Court
Teen Court is an alternative to adjudication through the Juvenile Court/District Court. It provides an opportunity for juvenile offenders, who accept responsibility for their offense, to go before a jury of peers and be represented by a teen attorney. The teen jury listens to testimony and decides an appropriate sentence based on guidelines provided by an adult judge. Upon successful completion, the referring agency will be notified and charges against the juvenile will not be pursued further.
Cleveland County Restitution & Community Service: Sponsoring Agency: Mediation Center of the Southern Piedmont,
Contact Information:
Beth Fox,
bfox@mediationcsp.com 704-868-9576
Component: Juvenile Restitution & Community Service
The goal is to offer juvenile offenders an option to give back to the community. It leverages local businesses, government agencies, and non-profit agencies to provide opportunities for youth to pay back restitution and offers a way for them to be held accountable and to repair some of the harm caused by their conduct. Monetary restitution is a process by which juvenile offenders are held partially or fully accountable for the financial losses suffered by the victims of their crimes.)
Cleveland Early Intervention:
Sponsoring Agency: Cleveland County Schools
Contact Information:
Rodney Borders,
Kaitlynne Lynch,
704 476-7682
Component: Interpersonal Skill Building
Cleveland Early Intervention (CEI) is an interpersonal skill building program based at Turning Point Academy, alternative school in Cleveland Co. Schools. CEI employs a Life Skills Coordinator to teach interpersonal skills to youth placed at TPA that are referred due to social skills deficits. The LSC provides primarily individual counseling with supplemental group sessions; links students to additional services in and out of school and provides opportunities to learn and model new skills.
Kids at Work!: Sponsoring Agency: Aspire Youth & Family
Contact Information: Kim Castano, kim@aspirenc.org 828-226-5533
Component: Interpersonal Skill Building
Kids at Work is an interpersonal skills development program based around the culinary arts. Youth are a part of the program for 16 weeks and meet for three hours once a week for instruction. The curriculum consists of 24 hands-on lessons that are designed to meet the clients unique learning styles and help them apply the skills in a work environment. Youth 14 and older also complete training in ServSafe and take the certification exam. All program youth will receive a vocational assessment.
Adversity Impact Assessment (AIA): Sponsoring Agency: Children's Homes of Cleveland County Contact Information: Celena Ditz, cdtiz@chccinc.org 704-848-2558
Adversity Impact Assessments are the enhanced trauma informed Clinical Assessments required by the juvenile court to help court counselors, at-risk youth-serving agencies, and judges to assess risks and determine the most appropriate intervention, consequences, and treatment for youth facing adjudication. Clinicians spend an extensive amount of time with the youth and collateral contacts to develop a holistic recommendation to best support the youth. A copy of the assessment will be provided to the court counselor upon completion.

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