The Morrow County Juvenile Court recently served as presenters at the largest, and longest running Juvenile Court conference in the State of Ohio. The 34th Annual InterCourt Conference took place on Feb. 22-23 at the Embassy Suites Dublin-Columbus.
The InterCourt Conference had nearly 500 attendees from 61 Ohio counties.
In October 2017, the Morrow County Juvenile Court was selected to present at the conference due to the success the Court has had with its programming. The 90-minute presentation titled “No Money, No Resources, No Problem: Overcoming Programmatic Barriers in Rural Communities” was attended by nearly 100 representatives from dozens of Ohio Courts, treatment centers, and placement facilities.
The presentation catered to Ohio counties with similar population size, demographics, and operational costs to Morrow County. Greg Thomas, Court Administrator of the Morrow County Court of Common Pleas said, “Conferences such as the InterCourt Conference usually direct the presentations and guest speakers to more populated counties who have larger operating budgets. For Morrow County and our Juvenile Court to be chosen, it is a true testament to Judge Hickson, Judge Elkin and the court staff.”
In the conference’s program, the presentation’s description read, “Their youth and families needed services, so they could not let a little thing like no money stand in the way. During this workshop faculty will showcase the creative problem solving of the Morrow County Court Probation Services Department.
The department’s programming is 75 percent grant funded and all staff are certified and trained in several evidence-based programs used with youth to provide pro-social skills and effective interventions. See how they did it.”
The presentation was given by Court Administrator Greg Thomas, Quality Assurance and Grant Coordinator Amanda Wheeler, Senior Probation Officer Dustin Stark, Probation Officer Richelle Ettel, and Probation Officer Nicole Hicks. Judge Robert C. Hickson, Jr. and Judge Tom C. Elkin, Magistrate Sara Babich, Chief Deputy Clerk Sheri Clever, and Probation Officer Renee Watts also attended the event and were instrumental in the delivery of the presentation.
The primary goal of the presentation was to display to other Courts how a smaller, rural Court can overcome financial obstacles and be successful in its daily operation. The Morrow County Court of Common Pleas is funded by 12 grants, which pay for Court staff salaries, supplies and equipment, training and travel, and other necessary expenses.
“Our Judges and Court staff go above and beyond every day and it was nice getting recognized for that hard work, especially being able to receive such recognition at Ohio’s most attended and longest running Juvenile Court conference,” Thomas said.
The presentation had five main objectives: 1. How to expand community correction services with little to no money; 2. Building relationships with community stakeholders and resources; 3. How to effectively implement evidence based practices and programs with high caseloads and small staff size; 4. Integrating fidelity and quality assurance standards to increase outcome measures; and, 5. The keys to effective leadership in building and sustaining staff.
The Morrow County Court of Common Pleas is unique in that Morrow County is the only county in the State of Ohio where two Judges oversee all Court divisions (General Division, Juvenile Division, Probate Division, and Domestic Relations Division).
Thomas said, “Our Court, starting with Judge Hickson and Judge Elkin, prides itself on running a lean and efficient operation. Every Court employee is cross-trained to perform the duties of a co-worker. We don’t have just a Probation Officer, or just an Administrative Assistant; every employee performs the duties and tasks of numerous employees. We do this so we can keep our operating costs down, while always striving to offer the public exceptional service.”
The presentation included discussion about the variety of programming that the Morrow County Juvenile Court offers. Programs highlighted were: Thinking for a Change, EPICS, Carey Guides, the weekly Juvenile Study Group, the Juvenile Diversion Program, the Juvenile Traffic Offender Program, Truancy Mediation, and the Juvenile Drug Court. The presentation ended with a Question and Answer session, where fellow Juvenile Courts asked the Morrow County Court staff questions that were specific to their respective Court.
Should you have any questions or you are in need of additional information pertaining to the Morrow County Court of Common Pleas, contact Greg Thomas, Court Administrator at (419)947-4515 ext. 2295.