SOMERSET COUNTY YOUTH SERVICES COMMISSION (SCYSC)
The Somerset County Youth Services Commission, established in accordance with N.J.S.A. 52:17b-169, the law that reformed New Jersey’s juvenile justice system in 1995, was appointed by the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders as the designated planning body for the county's court involved and at-risk youth. The commission is charged with the task of defining this troubled population in order to assess their needs and develop programs and services to meet these needs. This process is accomplished by bringing together leaders from a variety of disciplines and engaging them in a proactive group process to focus on examining the needs of our troubled youth, developing solutions in the service delivery system, sharing the system so that it can be truly effective, and planning for the future to benefit all of our county’s youth.
The Somerset County Youth Services Commission was established in 1981 as part of a pilot project at the state, county, and municipal levels in an effort to improve the juvenile justice system and the provision of services to youth involved with or at risk of involvement with that system. In 1982, the commission formally assumed the status of the Citizens Advisory Committee as required under that year’s Family Court legislation.
The commission is co-chaired by the Superior Court Judge, who hears Family Court matters, and a Freeholder. Their active participatory role in the process includes the appointment of committees to study particular issues as well as the designation of commission members to serve on these committees.
The commission is governed by a set of by-laws and has established a mission statement and governing principles. The commission administers the Juvenile Justice Commission State/Community Partnership, Family Court, and Innovations Grant funding.
The following standing committees consider the issues set forth by the mission and purpose of the Somerset County Youth Services Commission:
Needs Assessment and Planning
Develops the comprehensive youth services plan that includes a needs assessment of sanctions and services for juveniles adjudicated or charged as delinquent and of delinquency prevention programs. Submits this plan to the YSC for approval. Analyzes various forms of data pertinent to the target populations of youth and develops recommendations to enhance the service delivery system for these populations of youth and their families.
Proposal Review and Program Monitoring
Reviews proposals from providers seeking to provide sanctions and services and/or delinquency prevention programs. Selects provider agencies and makes recommendations of the same to the YSC and the Board of Chosen Freeholders. Monitors and evaluates provider agencies of sanctions and services for juveniles adjudicated or charged as delinquent and delinquency prevention programs.
Develops sanctions and services for juveniles adjudicated or charged as delinquent and delinquency prevention programs for identified service gaps. Receives data from the Needs Assessment/Planning Committee that identifies service enhancement needs to include in the design of a program blueprint. Presents program blueprints to YSC for approval and promulgation to interested service providers.
Education and Training
Educates and trains professionals who deal with the target populations of youth in state of the art techniques and strategies. Provides workshops on timely issues for parents and caregivers. Informs the community of the nature and extent of juvenile delinquency and delinquency prevention issues. Orients professionals and parents as to the availability and nature of programs and other resources available to youth and their families in Somerset County.
COMMISSION ON CHILD ABUSE & MISSING CHILDREN (CCAMC)
The Somerset County Commission on Child Abuse & Missing Children (CCAMC) was established through the New Jersey Department of Human Services and the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders. The commission addresses the problems of child abuse and missing children through data collection, assessment, program recommendations, education, and training. It hosts an annual forum in April each year on current topics related to child abuse and neglect.
CHILDREN’S INTER-AGENCY COORDINATING COUNCIL (CIACC)
Serving as the local planning body of the Children’s System of Care, the Children’s Inter-Agency Coordinating Council (CIACC) develops and maintains a responsive, accessible, and integrated system of care for children and youth with emotional and/or behavioral challenges and intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Collaborative partnerships are established with parents, consumers, educators, and youth-serving agencies.
The CIACC provides a forum where the system of care for children with emotional and behavioral challenges can be developed, reviewed, revised, and/or redirected through a collaborative decision making process that promotes optimal services in the least-restrictive setting possible. CIACC membership includes caregivers, community based organizations, agencies, and government entities.
The CIACC also serves as a planning body that maintains the Community Development Funding grant from the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. Through a thorough review process the CIACC engages the community to uncover a service need for youth, and then puts forth a competitive request for proposal. Once the allocation is granted the CIACC monitors these funds closely.