A pilot project in Otter Tail County would work with at-risk youth and family members, according to county probation director Mike Schommer.

“At the same time, the goal would be to reduce the number of juveniles in extended out-of-home placements,” Schommer told county commissioners June 2. “Cost savings would be an added benefit.”

Otter Tail County currently contracts for use of the multi-county juvenile center in Moorhead, which functions as a coed facility as well as a nonsecure care program.

Services are for juveniles with behavioral, protection, dependency and delinquency issues. Ages range from 10 to 18.

Member counties include Otter Tail, Cass, Clay, Becker, Wilkin, Wadena, Traverse, Grant, Douglas, Todd and Stevens. All of the counties are in Minnesota with the exception of Cass County in North Dakota.

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This pilot program concept has leadership through county commissioner John Lindquist of Dalton. For the past few years he has been a county liaison with the juvenile center in Moorhead.

“We see many benefits of youth remaining in our communities here in Otter Tail County,” Schommer said.

The five-person county board, on June 2, authorized county human resources to work with consultants for a rating for a Transition Coordinator (TC) for the pilot project.

“This will provide a more accurate position cost (salary) so we can determine if funds are available,” Schommer added.