New Castle News

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March 4, 2013

Program roots stretch back to 1998

NEW CASTLE — The Lawrence County Prevention Coalition began in 1998 with a handful of community members who work with youth.

Pat Micco, chief juvenile probation officer, was instrumental in writing grants in 1998 to secure start-up funds for Communities That Care programs. The programs work to build better communities for youth through cooperation, one community at a time.

Local programs began with after-school sessions, said Dee Welker, Child and Adolescent Service Systems Program coordinator at Human Services Center. Welker said the coalition develops what she called evidence-based prevention programs to reduce risk factors of the community and determine how to increase protective resources.

“Everyone knows we have problems,” Welker said. “We work to resolve them by asking, What can we do? How can we solve these problems?”

Information obtained through Pennsylvania Youth Survey, she said, can be used to focus on potential areas of need and on areas of strength.

Raw data from the survey also is used to back up grant proposals and corroborate needs.

Evidence-based programs developed from information gleaned by the Pennsylvania Youth Surveys of local students resulted in Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Both Cray Youth and Family Services and the Child Advocacy Center have made use of data and the Human Services Center is poised to begin a parent/child program.

“Our community is rich with that information and it does make a difference.”

The coalition meets three times each year focusing on safety, children and youth issues.

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