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Center Aims to Keep Status Offenders Out of Courts

In Calcasieu Parish, La., a one-stop “Multi-Agency Resource Center” under the Office of Juvenile Justice Services serves as a centralized intake point for families in need of services. Interventions like this are part of a growing effort to keep youths out of court for “status offenses” such as truancy, running away from home or drinking alcohol. Now there’s a vast new online resource for jurisdictions seeking alternatives to the courts for status offenses. The Status Offense Reform Center, launched Friday by the Center on Youth Justice at the nonprofit Vera Institute of Justice, brings together step-by-step guides to the reform process, case studies from the field, advice from experts on handling status offenses, a huge online library and other resources.