Juvenile officers committed to Clay Co youth
In 2018, Clay County had 160 juvenile cases come to court; quite a lot for a county its size according to D. C. “Chip” Barnes, Jr., District Supervisor of the Second Judicial District Circuit Court, Juvenile Division. Of those 160 cases, only three were sent to the Division of Youth Services. Barnes explained the reason for the low number of children sent to DYS was because of the three juvenile officers covering the county out of the Juvenile Probate Office. These officers are Betty Thomas; an intake officer working on 30 years with Clay County juveniles, and probation officers, Leigh DeBord and Jennifer Varner. Debord has held her position for 23 years and Varner is the newest at her position for two years.
“The reason they don’t send a lot of kids is because of the amount of time they put in working with them. Last year they had 606 contacts with juveniles; that averages about 50 a month,” Barnes said. “They say if you triple that number that’s the number of actual conferences they’ve had in the past year. 1,803 is the exact number of conferences they’ve had with kids in the past year.”
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