County Government: Night Four

This has been the hardest article for me to write. Not because of the material, there’s plenty of it. So much good being done in these departments that I don’t want to leave anything out. The problem is you won’t read it all in one sitting.

Our fourth night was a long one; we started at 6:30 and didn’t leave until 9:30, our fault, we had so many questions. In an effort to cover each department, as they should be, I’m going to do this in two parts.

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We met at the Sheriff’s Department in the new courthouse in Carthage. Janet Paris, the Director of Child Support, Day Reporting and Youth Services began the evening with a look at Child Services. In 1975 a federal law was passed requiring states to create programs to aid with the “establishment and collection of child support to insure that both parents support their children”. It just makes sense since some parents think that they can just walk away and leave all responsibilities behind. This department provides the resources needed to provide basic needs like housing, food, clothing and school supplies. Because they have access to state and federal databases, they can locate the “noncustodial parent” and establish a “Support Order” that spells out the monthly amount that needs to be paid. This can be enforced through income withholding, liens on real/personal property and court actions, to name a few.

Jeanette Schoonover told us about the Day Reporting Center, which serves “as an alternative to incarceration for offenders”. The Moore County Center opened in 1994 and funding is provided by State Criminal Justice Partnership Grants. Through this program, pre-trial citizens and sentenced offenders are served; the goal is to keep them out of jail, yet in a structured program. This frees up jail cells saving an average of $68.00 per person, per day. “Each citizen released from jail while awaiting sentencing and required to attend the Day Reporting Center are to comply with the rules established for them by the staff.” The programs offered through the Center include substance abuse assessments, education and treatment, GED classes, Life Skills, Employability and Family Education classes.

Last to speak was Mark Burdette of Youth Services. Their mission is to hold delinquent youths accountable for their actions and to provide the resources to help them become a responsible and productive citizen. Through Youth Services, Juvenile Restitution and Teen Court Programs are offered. “Juvenile Restitution allows the offender to pay for crimes committed through monetary and/or community service.” They can do community service by working in ground maintenance, at the Food Bank or help in the Thrift Store. They can also make $5.00 an hour by working in Libraries, Police Departments, Recreation Departments, the Fire Department, Schools or Churches. The goal is to teach personal responsibility.

Teen Court is the best program I have ever heard of. This is an “alternative system of justice where first-time offenders are tried by their peers for misdemeanor offenses.” The Clerk of Court, the bailiff, the attorneys and the jurors are all student volunteers. Real judges and attorneys volunteer to be the court’s judge. Mr. Burdette goes into Middle and High Schools, presents the program and recruits volunteers. He tells us that we all should visit these courts; these students are smart and just. The sentencing, decided by the peer jury, could be community service, writing a letter of apology, attending a life services counseling session or participating as a juror in Teen Court.

As with all too many good government programs, the funding is low. Each department does the best they can with the money they receive; sometimes above and beyond…all of them are “Just doing their part!”

Comments

This is awesome, Mo

Imagine how much easier a time elected officials would have if all voters were as informed as you now are. Every single report you give leaves me more impressed with Moore Co. Keep spreading the word.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Thanks SD

This thursday is our last class. It has been amazing and I recommend this program to anyone who would like to know how their government runs and what it takes to run it. These days with cuts galore, the department heads are becoming very creative!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

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Our class has decided that we will attend

the Teen Court. We were all surprised that this is going on right under our noses and no one except the teens and the parents knew about it. Mr. Burdette tells us that when he recruits, many of the the students that volunteer say that they want to be lawyers. This is an amazing program.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

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It sounds amazing

Great experience for the teens serving and the teens in trouble.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

that sounds awesome

I would love to visit. I bet it's fascinating (and far more productive.) Thanks for covering this (and I hope you write about the court, too!)

I'm constantly fascinated by the breadth of topics for WOW.
 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

Why thank you DQ

hopefully you know me by now, everything I do these days seems to turn into a diary.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

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It truely has been my pleasure A

I just wish some of the people that write lte's would attend these classes. At least that way they would know a little about what they complain about!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Good Idea A

I have examples weekly!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

You're not kidding, A.

We might need special edition just for The Pilot.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Great post!

Thanks for sharing so much info on this program with us. I'm learning a lot from your posts on these classes.

I was just talking yesterday to an attorney who used to do juvenile law and clearly understood the problems with the system, particularly the fact that often, the rehabilitative aspect is ignored and the punitive component prevails.

I'm glad to see that the Teen Court is doing some good work.

Thank you NCDem

Although Moore County is predominately Republican, the government is very progressive!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Progressive

A "progressive" government does not necessarily have to be Progressive/Dem/Liberal.

precisely.

I think for the most part, our county government - meaning the infrastructure, our county employees - do a fantastic job, with some terrific programs for our citizens. And now it looks like the Commissioners might just stop micromanaging and stay out of their way. That's a good thing.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

The great thing about many of our County Employees

is that they are truly civic minded. Janet Parris has served on my board of directors for close to 8 years.

Thanks for writing this, Mo - I had no idea about Teen Court. I think I might know of a volunteer. . . as long as he doesn't have to get his hair cut.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

I wondered if your son had volunteered

He would be perfect for the job, smart, fair and just!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Perfect!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Another great one, Mo.

Those child support folks ... heroes. They can go in and fight the money fight when the custodial parent can't or is too afraid. They monitor payments and make sure they're kept up to date. THEY take action if payments get behind. That takes such a huge ulcer inducing burden off the custodial parent. Wonderful people.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

So True Leslie

Each case is based on income, yet the largest amount charged is $25.00 for these services. I am overwhelmed with each departments dedication and love of their job.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions