Fred Mulhauser, probate judge for Emmet and Charlevoix counties, is to address state legislators today, Thursday, Dec. 8, in Lansing during the Michigan Family Impact Seminar, Juvenile Justice: Investing in Success, according to a news release.
The conference is to feature Mulhauser and two other juvenile justice experts, Jeffrey Butts, of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in New York, and Elizabeth Clarke, president of the Juvenile Justice Initiative (Redeploy Illinois).
"Here in Northern Michigan we have had to learn to do more with less and to cooperate with each other to improve outcomes for the kids and families in the court system," Mulhauser said in the release. "The entire community suffers when young people commit crimes or are themselves the victims of crimes. At the same time the entire community benefits if we improve the chance for rehabilitation."
The cost of rehabilitation can be significant, particularly when delinquents have to be sent out of the county or out of the state for residential placements, the release states.
"We have been successful in keeping kids in the community by developing local court based programs which avoid expensive residential placements," Mulhauser said in the release.
Some such programs include the two court schools the juvenile court administrates, The Great Lakes Academy and The Lakeview Academy, and Recovery High, which began in May 1999 as a cooperative effort by the Charlevoix Probate and Family Court, Bay Area Substance Education Services and the Boyne City school system, and which has serviced 577 teens in its residential program and several thousand in its non-residential program, according to the release.
Mulhauser noted that the court has not acted alone, it has received help and encouragement from partners in the local school districts, state and local agencies, such as Community Mental Health and the Department of Human Services, area law enforcement agencies, community organizations and county commissioners.
"Through our combined efforts we have done some good things here and I am proud to be able to share our programs' progress," he said. "I also expect to learn something and be able to bring back other ideas that will allow us to keep being creative and effective."