Friday, July 11, 2014

Event puts focus on juvenile justice issues

October 08. 2013 11:25PM

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WILKES-BARRE — Families. Educators. Professionals. Youths.

Anyone who has questions about or interest in information about area programs related to juvenile justice issues is welcome to attend an open house/resource day today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the third floor of the Penn Place Building, Pennsylvania Avenue and Market Street.

Theresa Kline, community liaison probation officer with the Luzerne County Department of Probation Services, said the event is being held as part of Juvenile Justice Week across Pennsylvania, which is Oct. 6-12.

But it is not a new gathering, and professionals in attendance for its first day on Tuesday spoke about the evolving challenges facing young people, their families and those who work to help them.

Among the recurring themes: The growing trend of substance abuse, at increasingly early ages — including the use of heroin, which is becoming easier and cheaper to obtain, said officials from A Better Today, a substance-abuse treatment program with offices in Hazleton, Scranton, Stroudsburg and Tunkhannock.

Louise Henry, director of the student assistance program at Northeast Counseling, said she has been in the field long enough to see the children of clients coming through the agency’s programs.

Henry also said that over 24 years she has observed many families — including a growing number of single-parent families — facing an increasingly difficult range of issues, from financial struggles to drug and alcohol addiction and emotional issues, all of which impact younger members as well as adults.

“A lot of things come into play with adolescents,” Henry said.

Kline said about 100 people per day are expected to visit the open house.

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