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Juvenile Drug Court money going mostly unused

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Updated: 2/11 8:17 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Despite receiving a hefty federal grant, Jacksonville's Juvenile Drug Court is being under utilized, according to River Region Human Services, which runs the program.

Jacksonville's Juvenile Drug Court is considered a second chance for many young teens battling drug problems. River Region Human Services' Senior Director Kenneth Arnold has seen firsthand how it has changed lives.

"It gives them some hope because a lot of kids may not have the necessary support that they need," said Arnold.

About a year ago the program received a federal grant of more than $400,000 a year, for a total of four years.

"With the numbers we have there is some money that is not being used," said Arnold.

According to Arnold, they only have 10 teens in the program but there's room for at least 20 more.

"We pick them up from school, we pick them up from home, we take them to group, we take them back home," said Arnold.

The teens in the program have to adhere to strict guidelines, including undergoing random drug testing, curfews and participating in community services. The teens also keep journals.

Arnold said the goal is getting the word out, especially to attorneys and public defenders. 

"To get them on track back in school, back to becoming productive to hopefully not have a criminal record when they're 18," said Arnold. 

The Juvenile Drug Court is free to the teens. The program also provides the court with progress reports of the minors who participate.

 

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