Juvenile Services' Records Revamp
Using technology increases accuracy and funding
Caddo Parish Juvenile Services is in the middle of an overhaul- consolidating old, written records from the past couple of decades into computable, chartable trends.
Until fairly recently, the department made decisions based on the basic information and good intentions.
"From my point of view, you cannot make good decisions unless you have the data," said Juvenile Services Executive Director Clay Walker. "Unless you have the evidence, you're really just kind of stabbing in the dark."
The department has spent weeks taking paper records, running the information through computer analysis, and deciphering the results. Authorities say this has helped them drop detention center admissions by half while still reducing overall juvenile crime.
Volunteers for Youth Justice runs programs for Juvenile Services. Executive Director Richard Foreman says the data on re-offender rates is their greatest asset in the fight for funding.
"The data can't be disputed," Foreman said. "Either you have recidivism rates or you don't, according to the data. That's not hearsay. That's not gray matter. That's not fantasy. That's just the hardcore facts."
Volunteers for Youth Justice's truancy program needs $60,000 to run through December and could be cut if they cannot get further funding.
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