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Scott County’s ‘Youth Assessment Program’ sees positive impacts after launch

“The successes we’ve seen so far is showing and demonstrating that this does work. If we can help families before they’re in immediate and long term crisis then we can prevent a lot of the issues in our community that we want to prevent”
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 6:20 PM CST
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The long awaited Youth Assessment Program started accepting referrals last month and community partners with the program are calling it a success.

Scott County families can get connected to resources they need to help support the success of youth in the community. The program takes a comprehensive approach and assists with everything from mentoring and mental health services to food and housing insecurities.

“I think our system has been missing this type of option where it’s free, it’s confidential, there are no, you know, underlying requirements,” said Nicole Cisne Durbin, the President and CEO of Family Services. “If you need help in any way shape or form, no matter how small or big, you can access the services. So far the families are just grateful that someone’s there.”

Cisne Durbin says there are 37 youth enrolled in the program as of Monday. With their current staffing patterns, she says they anticipate they could serve around 350 families in the first year.

“Even though it’s a child in need, we know that a child comes with a family and so we’re ensuring that we’re providing services to the whole family. We can’t just address an issue a child is having without also supporting the family.”

As discussions surrounding the expansion of Scott County’s Juvenile Detention Center continue, community partners say the youth assessment program is a preventive measure.

“We recognize that there has been a large conversation within our community around the role of public safety and youth entering the juvenile justice system and the Youth Assessment Program is really meant to be a preventative measure,” Sarah Ott said, the Chief Strategy Officer for the City of Davenport. “We want to be able to wrap services around youth and their families early on so that they don’t come into contact with law enforcement later on down the road.”

Cisne Durbin says they’re already seeing an impact.

“We had a young man referred to our services and he absolutely needed a male mentor in his life so we made sure to connect him to the appropriate services through our partnerships in the community. We’ve also had families who needed basic needs like beds, food, things that a lot of us take for granted.”

They hope programs like this have a positive impact on the future of the community.

“We know that the success of our community is tied intrinsically to the success of our children in our community and their families and so the more we can help them succeed the better off our community’s going to be in the future,” Ott said.

“The successes we’ve seen so far is showing and demonstrating that this does work. If we can help families before they’re in immediate and long term crisis, then we can prevent a lot of the issues in our community that we want to prevent,” said Cisne Durbin.

The Youth Assessment Program accepts referrals 24/7 all year round. You can learn more about the program on their website.

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