KEARNEY — Connecting troubled youths with the right combination of services to best benefit them is key to their rehabilitation.
“We do our best when families are at the core,” Shay Bilchik said Wednesday at the 40th Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association Annual Conference, which runs through Friday in Kearney.
Bilchik is the founder and director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. He spoke during several breakout sessions that asked juvenile justice professionals — judges, youth advocates, probation officers, prosecutors — what steps they’re willing to take to help a child.
The conference is the largest gathering of juvenile justice professionals in the state. More than 420 people are registered for the conference.
During one of the sessions he led, Bilchik spoke about the need for leadership and collaboration at all levels to benefit children in the juvenile justice system. Professionals need to lift up those troubled youths so the incident that brought them into the system is only a bump in the road and doesn’t set their course.