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Scott County, Bettendorf OK funding agreement for youth-crime prevention program
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Scott County, Bettendorf OK funding agreement for youth-crime prevention program

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Scott County leaders are more than halfway to the finish line to finalizing a funding proposal to get a long-talked-about youth-crime prevention program off the ground.

The Scott County Board of Supervisors on Thursday approved an agreement, called a memorandum of understanding, among the county, city of Davenport, city of Bettendorf and United Way Quad Cities for the establishment of a youth assessment program connecting youth and families to preventative behavioral and mental health services to lower juvenile crime.

Under the agreement, the county will commit $700,000 over the next five years toward the youth assessment program.

Davenport would contribute $1 million in seed funding from the nearly $41 million it's slated to receive in federal COVID-19 relief funds. Bettendorf would provide a one-time payment of $300,000.

Bettendorf City Council approved the proposal earlier this week. Davenport City Council members are expected to approve the memorandum of understanding next week.

United Way would serve as the fiscal agent, managing and administering the funds and a contract with Family Resources to provide assessment, referral and case management services. 

Family Resources was chosen through a request-for-proposal process overseen by United Way and city of Davenport, which a national advocacy group has said was flawed. Family Resources was the only service provider to submit a proposal.

Stephanie Hernandez, director of initiatives with Family Resources, said the nonprofit hoped to be serving kids by the start of next school year, and is currently hiring for three new full-time positions to run the program — two care coordinators and one assessor.

If approved, local leaders would continue to examine a long-term, sustainable funding model, including public and private sources, according to the agreement. Davenport City Administrator Corri Spiegel and Davenport Mayor Mike Matson said they also anticipated announcements later this month of other community funding partners.

"This is a victory and also a starting line for a lot more hard work to do," Davenport Alderman JJ Condon, at-large, said. "We're never going to arrest ourselves out of this problem. ... And I look forward to watching this program grow, get funded and offer some relief to a community that was really in a lot of pain last summer and looking to move forward in a positive way."

Matson echoed Condon, and stressed the program is separate and distinct from discussions by Scott County officials about building a larger Juvenile Detention Center.

"This is completely opposite of the Juvenile Detention Center," Matson said. "This is ... to keep kids out of the Juvenile Detention Center."

He added the funding agreement constitutes "a huge win ... to work with our youth and provide assistance to them and and their families and a support system to get them away from being in detention."

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