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K-State Today

January 24, 2019

University awarded $521,800 to build community capacity and collaboration for juvenile justice initiatives

Submitted by L. Sue Williams and Greg Paul

The K-State Juvenile Justice Collaborative, or K-State JJC, has been awarded $521,805 by the Kansas Department of Corrections and the Kansas Advisory Group to work with local communities in developing support systems for youth and families.  

The goal of the project, titled "Our Town, Our Kids," is to prevent youth from entering the juvenile justice system and to provide services that maximize their chances of leading productive, successful lives.

K-State JJC is comprised of L. Susan Williams, professor of sociology and criminology; Greg Paul, associate professor and interim department head of communication studies; Elaine Johannes, associate professor of family studies and human services and Extension specialist; and Bruce Chladny, K-State Research and Extension specialist.

The project incorporates K-State Research and Extension, which has Extension professionals in each of the 105 Kansas counties, utilizing these connections to facilitate local collaboration and initiatives. 

Over the next two years, K-State JJC will work with stakeholders in 23 pre-selected Kansas counties: Cheyenne, Decatur, Ellis, Finney, Gove, Graham, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Logan, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Scott, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Thomas, Trego, Wallace and Wichita.

The project aims to build community capacity in data collection and analysis and to foster community collaboration in support of youth and families.

Professionals from K-State Research and Extension will facilitate local conversations that identify areas of concern and develop knowledge bases that will prepare communities to deliver best-practice programs in their respective areas. As part of the effort to engage positive community support, K-State JJC will develop a comprehensive toolkit for all Kansas communities that will facilitate local, sustainable systems that serve unique needs of youth. 

K-State JJC includes top experts in juvenile justice, human development/adolescence, disproportionate minority contact, gender, trauma-informed care, data management and analysis, rural sociology, communication, restorative justice, and community facilitation and engagement.

The award reflects commitments of Kansas State University, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Human Ecology, and K-State Research and Extension to engagement, multidisciplinary collaboration, and improvement of the quality of life of all Kansans. The team also has contracted with Fort Hays State University's Docking Institute director Michael Walker and April Terry for data management and expertise.