Davenport, Bettendorf, Scott County move forward with youth assessment program to prevent juvenile crime

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 6:21 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - After over three years of planning, the City of Davenport, Bettendorf, and Scott County are moving forward with funding a youth assessment program to prevent juvenile crime.

“It’s a preventative program by nature and the hope is to have a one-stop shop for youth and families to go to when they are in need,” says Sarah Ott, Chief Strategy Officer with the City of Davenport.

The program will connect youth and families to services without requiring involvement with the justice system.

“We have a lot of resources available to youth and families in need but that system can be really hard to navigate for families. So, by having a case coordinator with them to help them navigate that system and provide a warm handoff to the programs that might be beneficial to them, our hope is they access the services they are in need of,” says Ott.

This week the City of Davenport, Bettendorf, and Scott County are discussing a memorandum of understanding between partnering agencies. United Way Quad Cities will serve as the fiscal agent for the program.

“We assisted with creating for organizations to apply to provide the services that are required. We will hold the money, we will make the grants, we will collect the data and analyze it, we will report the data out to the community, and the investors of the program,” says Rene Gellerman, President & CEO of United Way Quad Cities.

City officials say they anticipate the program will have a physical location, but want to make it easy for families to access the services where they are.

“They may be providing the assessments and case coordination in the schools, they may be providing it at the service provider’s physical location, they may be going to the homes of these families to do that. Wherever the youth and families are and where they feel comfortable in engaging is where we want to meet them,” says Ott.

The youth assessment program is another opportunity to stop rising crime rates in Davenport.

“We have had a large conversation in our communities over the past couple months about public safety and how we can address some of the issues that we are seeing in our community in a preventative way and the youth assessment program fits right into that,” Ott says.

According to Ott, the City of Davenport has contributed one million dollars to the start of the program. Bettendorf has contributed $300,000, and Scott County is committing $700,000. Davenport officials say they hope to launch the youth assessment program by the start of the upcoming school year. The Davenport Committee of the Whole will meet Wednesday to approve the memorandum.

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