State lawmakers eye Youth Intervention program for BR

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A measure that would follow the lead of other parishes in the state and target at risk children from pre-school to sixth grade in the Baton Rouge Area is on tap for debate at the state capitol.

Senator Sharon Weston Broome authored the bill that would collect money generated from misdemeanor and felony charges and create an early intervention program in the 19th Judicial District.

"The other parishes have shown success rates with their programs and we have no doubt it will be successful here in East Baton Rouge Parish," said Weston Broome.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore supports the program and while he admits court courts can add up, he adds these funds will only come from those convicted of crimes that waive bonds.

"It's related to those court costs that we can maybe impact the future and some crime in the future so maybe we'll see some benefit from it," said Moore. "It's been proven to work in those other parishes and it's driven by data and by statistics and we hope it's going to work here just as well."

The program would provide extra financial resources to the Family and Youth Service Center and allow workers to team up with area law enforcement agencies and school officials to reach more children.

"We found targeting these kids that are at risk and they're easy to find and easy to spot to get them some services and their family some services then we can prevent crime and help these kids with education and help them become a productive citizen," said Moore.

"I'd rather see us invest us early on in prevention and intervention than see us have to invest in the court system with a juvenile when they become 15, 16 and 17 years old," added Weston Moore.

The bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate Finance Committee Monday afternoon.

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