This afternoon, Voices for Children Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Policy Coordinator Juliet Summers testified in favor of LB 25, which expand juvenile court jurisdiction to 21 in cases where youth in the juvenile justice system would like to voluntarily continue treatment or probation past age 19.
Voices for Children in Nebraska supports LB 25, because it will provide a safety net for a small number of youth involved in the juvenile justice system who desire and would benefit from extended court oversight.
As of yesterday, there were 602 total eighteen year olds under the supervision of juvenile probation. In 2014, there were 226 juveniles who were already eighteen at the time they were placed on probation.1 These numbers can be expected to increase in 2015 as LB 561’s provisions roll in, expanding original juvenile court jurisdiction to a greater number of older teens. Under the current law, court jurisdiction, and probation oversight cut off automatically when a youth turns nineteen, regardless of whether or not she has completed the terms of her probation, finished a course of court-ordered treatment, or otherwise successfully rehabilitated herself.
Offering the opportunity to fully complete a rehabilitative plan is good policy, both for the child who is asking for help, and for the community that will reap the benefit of a fully rehabilitated young adult.