Juvenile Detention Center
The Juvenile Detention Center is a division of the Court Services Department, governed by the Board of Judges, under the direction of President Judge Chad F. Kenney. The facility is licensed and regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. Located on Route 352 in Lima, the Detention Center provides a secure setting while protecting the community from young people, ages 10 through 18, whose behavior has endangered and/or appears likely to endanger the citizens and/or their property.
The Detention Center provides secure custody, guaranteeing that youths will be available for court appearances when they have failed to do so in the past and/or there is a lack of parental supervision or responsibility for the youth's appearance. It further ensures that youths will be available for psychological, psychiatric and/or educational diagnostic testing.
Presently, there are 66 beds for Delaware County admissions. From 2013 to 2015, the number of residents admitted to juvenile detention and their days of care have been steadily declining. In 2013, a total of 1,096 children were admitted to detention with 15,794 days of care. In 2015, a total of 794 children were admitted, with the total days of care being 11,985. The 2015 numbers show a reduction of 28 percent from 2013.
Revenue for the facility was obtained through state revenues equal to 50% of the cost of operation and 50% from the county budget. Other sources of reimbursement include funding through the Department of Education and the National School Lunch Program.
The center also provides many programs for the youths while detained. Thresholds provides an educational decision-making course taught by volunteer teachers with the goal of helping to reduce the risk of recidivism. The Chester Community Hospital Residency Program meets with all new admissions on a weekly basis and offers a comprehensive health education component. Resident doctors give presentations on a variety of topics, including alcohol/danger of drugs, gun violence, hygiene and nutrition. The DCIU (Delaware County Intermediate Program) provides a full-time instructor who teaches a lesson plan based on social skills and decision making.
After the Federal (TANF) reimbursement was cut in 2006 and 2007, state and county funding streams now provide the cost for three full-time clinical case managers, a psychiatrist and psychologist who assist the court and probation department with evaluations of children identified with emotional disorders.
Through the efforts of the common pleas court judges and county court services/probation, the number of admissions has decreased by 28 percent from 2012, while the average length of stay of residents has been reduced from 21 days to 16 days in 2015. This represents a considerable reduction in cost due to staffing mandates.
National School Lunch Program
All residents of the Delaware County Juvenile Detention Center are eligible for, and receive, free breakfast and lunch through the National School Lunch Program. Families of students released from detention may still be eligible for free or reduced meals, as well as additional benefits, by applying online at www.compass.state.pa.us.
Additionally, please be advised that students released from detention may still be eligible for free summertime meals under the Summer Food Program. Visit www.whyhunger.org to find a location.