- Alternatives to Detention and Youth Prisons — North Dakota Improves Services for Transition-Aged Youth: Legislation now requires the North Dakota Department of Human Services to use a wraparound planning process to develop a program for services to transition-aged youth at risk. The legislation applies to youth who have been involved in the juvenile justice or foster care systems, youth with serious mental illness or serious disability, and youth with suicidal tendencies. Services under the program must include an individualized assessment, a single plan of care for each youth, enhanced or extended vocational training, in-home support, and a statewide independent living skills curriculum for youth and families. While no money was appropriated for the program in 2009, in 2011, officials established a statewide Transition to Independence Program at North Dakota’s eight regional human service centers. Each regional center has a designated staff person assigned to provide case management services to those individuals who do not meet criteria for participation in other programs. These staff people also serve as the regional experts in transition-related issues and resources, and facilitate regional subcommittees. Each center has established a transition flex fund to be used for services no other resource can fund. H.B. 1044/Ch. 415, signed into law April 21, 2009; effective July 1, 2009.
- Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) — State Funds Demonstration Program to Address Over-Representation of Native American Youth in Juvenile Justice System: In 2008, the North Dakota Supreme Court approved $100,000 in funding for a pilot program to address the over-representation of Native American youth in the juvenile justice system; the program received state general fund appropriations beginning July 1, 2011. The program focuses on two counties with large Native American youth populations not living on a reservation. Native American youth represent 6.1 percent of the at-risk youth population, but make up 26.5 percent of court referrals in the designated counties. The program focuses on several different points along the continuum, including prevention, diversion, and post-adjudication efforts to prevent placement. A crisis management component focuses on preventing Native American youth from entering the system when they cannot be immediately and safely returned to their parents. A case management component focuses on diversion and the enhancement of services in order to prevent formal adjudications resulting in out-of-home or correctional placements. The program is also developing culturally relevant support services that could have a greater impact on delinquency prevention and early intervention than commonly used one-on-one counseling approaches.