The Bradley County Juvenile Center thanked its many partners for their support during an open house Friday.
Director of Juvenile Court Terry Gallaher said the center shows what can be accomplished when different organizations come together and partner for a common goal.
Gallaher said Juvenile Court started with high hopes of making an impact on juvenile delinquency, and those hopes have been realized.
The Juvenile Center has undergone much renovation since it was handed over to the Juvenile Court program.
Gallaher said staff at the center are willing to do whatever it takes to make the center what it needs to be.
“Y’all have good reason to celebrate today,” said Steve Hornsby of Camelot Care Centers.
Hornsby said the Bradley County model of Juvenile Court should be implemented throughout the state.
Hornsby said the center offers hope and in the long run saves the community money by keeping children from becoming a part of the adult judicial system.
He added, he has seen many similar programs in other places; but the Bradley County Juvenile Court is one of the best run.
During the open house, Gallaher and Juvenile Court judge Daniel Swafford honored deputy director of Juvenile Court Mike Ream, teacher Emily Mathews and teacher’s assistant Kellen Pickel for their work in the program.
Mathews and Pickel teach in the Day Treatment Center of the behavioral unit at the center.
The center focuses on K-5 students dealing with behavioral issues in school. Pickel has been involved with the program since it began two years ago.
“I like working with the kids (and) seeing that with a little help they can get better,” Pickel said.
Mathews joined the program a year ago. She was working on her master’s in education and wanted to work with at-risk student.
Mathews said she was also inspired by what Ream wanted to accomplish through the day center.
The Day Treatment Center is a partnership between the Bradley County Juvenile Center and Bradley County Schools.
The Juvenile Center also partners with Camelot Care Centers.
According to Miles Huff, treatment coordinator for the Juvenile Center, Camelot provides needs-assessments for the families of children who are brought to the behavioral unit.
Huff said they offer referrals to needed services such as counseling or mentoring; sometimes these are to Camelot services outside of the center. However, Camelot also offers referrals to other local organizations or nonprofits.
Camelot staff also serves as liaisons between the children and the court.
Huff said it was great to see how a government entity could partner with a private company.
“The behavioral unit was started two years ago to act as a liaison between the community and the Juvenile Court system to provide families with intervention services,” according to a Juvenile Center publication.
Of those referred to the behavioral unit, 100 percent did commit an offense within a year of final use of services.
The partnerships within the Behavioral unit have also created a revenue flow for the center.
The center also has plans to extend a partnership with Valley Hospital. Currently, Valley offers drug and alcohol treatment to youth in the Juvenile Court system. In July, the center plans to have someone from Valley in an office on-site.
The Juvenile Center also houses Juvenile Delinquent Court, Juvenile Drug Court and a detention center.