Frontline Referrals: Cops Care

Leslie Norsted, Ramsey Co. All Children Excel (ACE) Prog.
Jack Jones, Ramsey County Government Center East
Jody McElroy, Ramsey Co. All Children Excel (ACE) Prg.

Child delinquency has increased in the metropolitan areas of Minnesota in recent years. In the City of St. Paul alone, police write an average of 125 reports per year on children under age 10 who commit delinquent offenses. Many more child delinquents are returned to their parents without a police report being filed. Until ACE, police were frustrated by their lack of options. This presentation will describe how ACE uses a collaboration with police and schools to identify child delinquents in the community so that they may be connected with services. The process includes direct referrals by police; indirect referrals from schools by calling the police; a review of the offense by a County Attorney to ensure that it meets the criteria for charging (except for age); and scheduling a confidential screening meeting under provisions in the child protection statutes. Of 226 children referred over a two-year period, 174 (77%) met the criteria for charging. One in five of these children reside in the suburbs. Four in ten of the referring offenses happened at school. Statistics will be presented on the pattern of referrals by schools and police, characteristics of the children referred, and the types of offenses they committed. The response to the program by police and schools will be discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006