Sheriff Mike Chitwood applauds the Volusia County Council's approval of a new Juvenile Center coming to Daytona Beach.
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communications News
During Tuesday’s regularly scheduled Volusia County Council meeting, council members unanimously voted to provide funding for a comprehensive juvenile assessment center located in an existing building off Red John Road in Daytona Beach.
“Today marks a huge step forward in facing the root causes of juvenile crime in our county,” Sheriff Chitwood said following the vote in council chambers. “We’re putting together a unified front to make sure there are consequences for criminal behavior and resources for kids and families who need them. Kudos to the Volusia County Council and administration for having the vision to bring the funding to the table.”
According to a release, the vote will dedicate $5.4 million in federal relief funding from the American Rescue Plan to help launch a new Family Resource Center. The new juvenile assessment center is to be staffed by Volusia County Sheriff deputies, along with members of the Department of Juvenile Justice, SMA Healthcare, Halifax Behavioral Services, the Children’s Home Society of Florida, and Volusia County Schools.
“It’s no secret that the juvenile justice system is broken all across our country,” said SMA Healthcare Chief Operating Officer Rhonda Harvey. “We are beyond excited at the promise this investment by the County brings to our children here locally, as there are so many in need of services prior to even considering punishment. We look forward to working with all the community partners involved and applaud the tireless efforts and attention that the men and women of the Volusia Sheriff’s Office have placed upon this problem.”
Juvenile crime is a major focus in Volusia County, amplified by several recent high-profile incidents, including an incident in June 2021 that involved two group home runaways, ages 14 and 12, who opened fire on deputies with guns stolen from a nearby residence.
Sheriff Chitwood has been pushing for new programs to address juvenile crime since he took office in 2017. There is not an official launch date for the new Family Resource Center currently, but the target is for later this fall.