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Youth Assessment Program aims to keep kids out of trouble in Scott County

The programs goal is to connect with kids before they go down a bad path.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Organizations and cities are joining forces to provide a new program for youth in Scott County, aimed at preventing young people from ending up in the criminal justice system. 

The "Youth Assessment Program" is a product of efforts from United Way of the Quad Cities, Family Resources of the Quad Cities, the city of Davenport, the city of Bettendorf, Scott County and the John Deere Foundation.

As of August of 2021, the program has secured nearly $2 million dollars in funding through the different municipalities and donations. It’s enough to fund the program for the first five years.

The city of Davenport provided roughly $1 million dollars, Bettendorf supplied $300,000, Scott County $700,000 and the John Deere Foundation $500,000 dollars.

Davenport Mayor Mike Matson says they hope to stop kids from ending up in the Juvenile Detention Center. Matson saying, “We know that preventative programming is essential to ensuring the wellbeing of our youth and families and crucial to the well-being of our community.”

Family Resources of the Quad Cities President Nicole Cisne Durbin says it’s a program they’ve been working on for years. “When we help youth and families before a crisis occurs we have better outcomes.”

The program won’t actually have a physical location. Instead a team of one assessor and two care coordinators will work to meet families and kids where they are. This could be at a family’s home, a school, a medical center, or wherever is most comfortable for the family.

Cisne says within one hour of a referral coming in a care coordinator will be in touch with the family to assess the situation. “Following assessment YAP staff will help families build a care plan which can range from therapy, medical and medication management, basic needs, to behavioral health intervention by connecting the family with community-based support systems and natural supports.”

United Way President and CEO Rene Gellerman says after the past year it’s more apparent than ever that the youth of our area need help. “People throughout our region have had the same conversation. They’re asking how can we get our young people back on track in school and life and prevent the escalation of juvenile crime.”

The program is designed to help families and youth in the county better access resources to help keep kids out of trouble. Gellerman saying, “This comprehensive, holistic program will focus on creating opportunities, early interventions to avoid crisis, and empower kids with a broader awareness of their options to create a safe, happy, successful life for themselves.”

The intervention plan will be different for each child. Cisne saying it can vary broadly to include what best suits the situation, “Medical and medication management, basic needs, to behavioral health intervention.”

The program will start taking referrals after Labor Day. The hotline will be operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. To refer someone or receive services from YAP you can call 563-326-6431.

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