Abbott, TJJD announce more $295,000 grant to Uvalde County Juvenile Probation Department

AUSTIN Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) announced on Thursday that the State of Texas has awarded a $295,562 Discretionary State Aid Grant to the Uvalde County Juvenile Probation Department.

This grant will fund a program for the UCJPD to provide services for at-risk youth exhibiting emotional or behavioral problems at school who need additional help beyond school-based interventions during fiscal years 2023 and 2024.

The Uvalde program will aim to fill in service gaps for mental health care and wraparound family resources. It will also work closely with schools to prevent youth from becoming involved in the justice system. Uvalde program staff will engage with public and private schools across the community and with school districts just outside the city. The program will set up preventative services, such as weekly sessions with families, and attendance check-ins with schools for the youth in the program.

“The future of Texas is rooted in our state’s most precious resource: our children,” Abbott stated in the press release. “Investing in our youth includes providing necessary resources they need to stay on a positive track to the bright opportunities ahead of them. Thank you to TJJD for your commitment to support at-risk youth across Texas and for your hard work in securing this Uvalde program that will help dozens of young Texans in this community.”

“A critical factor of this program is that it meets youth and family where they are—at school, home, or in an office setting,” Uvalde Juvenile Probation Chief Marilou Ruiz stated in the press release. “We will use the wraparound care approach focused on the youth and family, with support throughout their three-to-four-month program involvement based on their level of risk and meeting their needs with the appropriate level of care.”

“This is a community program that can help kids early and close to home, to prevent crime and prevent youths from falling into the justice system,” TJJD Probation, Parole, and Community Service Division Probation Director Amy Miller stated in the press release. “TJJD’s Probation Division regularly assesses and awards targeted state-funded grants to Juvenile Probation Departments across Texas to help strengthen capacity at the local level.”

The Uvalde program, which is expected to serve 45 young Texans each year, will help youth avoid behaviors that can lead to out of home placements through cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and working with families to reach youth early.

It will also provide community-based counseling, skill building, and case coordination to youth on probation and those at risk of juvenile justice involvement due to truancy and behavioral problems at school or have siblings already involved in the justice system.