Fewer cases filed in Hancock County Juvenile Court last year

The number of cases filed last year in Hancock County Juvenile Court was the lowest since 1985, according to the 2017 annual report released by the court.
Just 1,178 cases were filed in the court last year, compared with 1,287 cases in 2016, a previous low.
The report said the court is still seeing children who are suffering from both the youths’ and their parents’ mental health disorders and substance abuse.
And while juvenile crime overall is down, not all delinquency offenses have dropped. Sex offenses increased by two-thirds from 2016, according to the report.
But alcohol and drug offenses, crimes of violence and menacing, miscellaneous offenses, property damage, weapons offenses, and violation of court orders all dropped.
Actions filed by grandparents and other relatives to care for children rose due to the number of parents using illegal drugs in the county, according to the report.
Change of custody filings rose by 20 percent in 2017. Negligence and abuse cases filed in the court rose by 10 percent.
Because of the volume of relatives involved in custody cases, the court introduced a Grand Program, which aims to help grandparents take care of their grandchildren while they are in their grandparents’ custody, and hired Cathy Elliot to head the program. The report said 43 families have been assisted since the program began last summer.



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