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August 26, 2011 > Cortese requests Emergency Assessment Team

Cortese requests Emergency Assessment Team

Submitted By Steve Blomquist

At the August 17, 2011 meeting, the Children, Seniors and Families Committee unanimously approved a request by Supervisor Dave Cortese, President of the Board of Supervisors, to create an Emergency Assessment Team for detentions of juveniles ages 15 and under. This team would be convened for every youth under 15 who commits a crime of violent nature, is gang related, or has any other complications which would make placement extraordinarily challenging. The team would quickly decide next steps in order to eliminate the need for the youth to stay overnight at the Hall.

"We need to expand the menu of options available to place these vulnerable youth in a rehabilitative and supportive environment tailored to their specific needs," said Dave Cortese, Chair of the Children, Seniors and Families Committee. "The one-size-fits-all mentality is inappropriate for children.

The Emergency Assessment Team concept is predicated on the notion that Juvenile Hall is by its nature, primarily a detention setting. At their September meeting, the Committee will hear a report on possible formats for the team as well as alternatives for expanding the community care options. In October, the full Board of Supervisors will conduct a juvenile justice resource mapping workshop to discuss the Emergency Assessment Team and further options to handle this young population.

Santa Clara County is believed to be the first county in the nation to have adopted a formal public policy that youth offenders ages 12 and under should no longer be placed at Juvenile Hall.

For more information, contact Steven Blomquist at (408) 299-5030.

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