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State to keep juveniles in Jefferson County after Louisville's detention center shuts down

The Department of Juvenile Justice System is looking to keep the youth in Jefferson County at the Audubon Youth Development Center.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County has barely more than a month to come up with a plan before the juvenile detention center shuts down. There are currently 25 kids being held in Louisville's juvenile jail. 

The Department of Juvenile Justice System is looking to keep them in Jefferson County at the Audubon Youth Development Center. 

"We the citizens must rise up and demand that our representatives vote in our best interest," Reverend Roosevelt Lightsy Jr. is on the Junior Justice Advisory Council. He was at the first public meeting Tuesday organized by the Department of Juvenile Justice System.  

"No agency that touches juvenile justice thinks this is a good move so it's important that since this move is going to happen that we make sure that it's happening in a way that serves best interest long-term of Jefferson County," Lightsy said. 

Rev. Lightsy is encouraging everyone to come out to the next four meetings happening every Tuesday at the Audubon center, 3 P.M. The goal is to gather a handful of local organizations to discuss next steps

"We really want to find resources that are available and close to them that we are familiar with and that will be there long after their first entry into the justice system," president and CEO of Centerstone of Kentucky, Abby Drane said. 

Centerstone of Kentucky provides services like counseling, evaluations, and treatment. The state called on the counselors to conduct assessments with youth and families. Depending on the charge, they will seek alternatives to detention for youth currently being housed.

"So we're going to get right in on the front end, get into their homes, talk with their families, and find out services they may already be receiving," Drane said. "We're going to look at what we could improve on, what is out there in the city, if there is restorative justice services, and if there are girls and boys clubs."

The Audubon could only house 16 juveniles, but officials are hopeful they will have less than that in the jail by deadline.

If the juveniles are under 18-years-old and need to be held for a long period of time, that could mean busing them to other detention centers throughout the state which could be hours away from Jefferson County. 

Contact reporter Senait Gebregiorgis at SGebregior@whas11.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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