June 27, 2019

Family Recovery Court helps mom begin sobriety

BATAVIA, Ohio (June 27, 2019) — Years of alcoholism and drug addiction pushed Barbara Pingleton to the brink of losing her children when she arrived at Clermont County Family Recovery Court last year.

“To think that you are where you are today is truly amazing,” Judge James A. Shriver told the mother of three during the court’s sixth commencement ceremony today. “I must say that you have done exceptionally well.”

Judge Shriver then turned to Gavin, 15, Delainna, 13, and Hayden, 11, and congratulated them on their success. County commissioners, court officials and child protective workers joined family and friends in smiles and applause.

Barbara proudly stated that all get great grades in school and achieve perfect attendance. She told the gathering that notes from her children tucked in her monthly planner keep her motivated. One read: “Mom, I’m so proud of you. You’re doing a great job. Keep it up.”

“Kids, you have a great mom,” Judge Shriver said. “I think you recognize that.”

All three nodded, showing the smiling faces prominent on a poster board of photos Barbara brought for her graduation remarks.

Barbara credits Family Recovery Court for giving her much-needed accountability. The court, which began in 2014, works to reunite families, as parents complete a rigorous program. The program requires weekly appearances before Judge Shriver, as well as frequent drug screens. Parents must submit weekly letters detailing their activities, which comprise a journal that is returned to the parents when they graduate. They must attend AA or similar meetings. They receive treatment. They must have a job and secure stable housing.

“One day at a time and by the grace of God, I’m sober today,” Barbara said. “I owe a lot to the Eastside Center (an AA clubhouse), my sponsor and a lot of meetings. My passion today is service, giving back.”

Barbara, 38, started drinking at age 13. She was addicted to alcohol, speed and pills for 15 years. Her life included many toxic relationships, depression, suicidal thoughts and relapses — until her recovery began more than 300 days ago.

“I would put a smile on my face, even though I was dying inside,” she said. “I never thought I would be able to live a life sober. It was so scary.”

Barbara finished her remarks by holding up certificates she has earned for various milestones. For example, she’s been employed for more than a year.

Judge Shriver urged Barbara to keep the momentum going.

“This hasn’t been the easiest thing,” Barbara said. “I’ve gone through so many changes, but I’m not alone. It’s teamwork.”


February 6, 2019

Clermont County courts, other offices to close Friday for detective’s services

Detective Bill Brewer

BATAVIA, Ohio (Feb. 6, 2019) – All Clermont County courts and many county offices will be closed Friday, Feb. 8, to allow employees to attend, view or participate in services for Sheriff’s Detective Bill Brewer, who lost his life in the line of duty on Feb. 2.


Sheriff’s Office: Administrative offices close at noon Thursday and all day Friday.

Common Pleas Court: Closes at 2 p.m. Thursday and all day Friday. This also includes Probation, Law Library, and Court Services.

Juvenile Court/Probate Court: Closes at 2 p.m. Thursday and all day Friday.

Prosecutor’s Office: Closes at 2 p.m. Thursday and all day Friday.

Domestic Relations Court: Closes at 2 p.m. Thursday and all day Friday. All hearings will be scheduled to the next available time.

Board of County Commissioners’ office, and departments including Water Resources Administration Building, Building Inspection, Permit Central, Job & Family Services, OhioMeansJobs/Clermont County, and Department of Community & Economic Development: Closed Friday.

Municipal Court: Closed Friday. Those who have an arraignment scheduled for Friday will be sent a new court date. They can also check the Clermontclerk.org website for updated information.

Common Pleas Clerk’s Office, Domestic Relations Clerk and all auto title offices: Closed Friday.

Public Defender’s Office: Closed Friday.

Auditor’s Office: Closed Friday.

Recorder’s Office: Closed Friday.

Engineer’s Office: Closed Friday.

Public Health: Closed Friday.

Coroner’s Office: Closed Friday; on call at 513.543.0129.


Some county offices will be open, including the Treasurer’s Office, which is accepting payments for first-half property taxes, which are due Feb. 13. The Municipal Clerk of Court Office will be open Friday. The Board of Elections office will be open Friday.

Bus service in Clermont County, including Dial-A-Ride, will operate normally.

The county website, www.clermontcountyohio.gov, has separate pages for each county office, including how to contact them. Check there if you have questions on whether an office is open or closed.

Services for Detective Brewer are as follows:

Family and friends are invited to a public visitation from 4-8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 7, at Mount Carmel Christian Church, 4110 Bach Buxton Rd, Batavia, OH 45103, under the direction of E.C. Nurre Funeral Home in Amelia. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the church. Interment will follow at Pierce Township Cemetery.

August 23, 2018

Juvenile Court’s truancy program’s success recognized by Ohio Supreme Court

BATAVIA, Ohio – Clermont County Juvenile Court has been recognized by the Supreme Court of Ohio for the success of its Truancy Intervention Program, which has resulted in better attendance rates at schools and academic success for youth who were considered truants.

In 2017, 233 students who were referred to Juvenile Court for truancy were instead diverted into the Truancy Intervention Program. Of those 231 completed the program, and did not have to face official charges and court proceedings.

The Truancy Intervention Program, which began in 2002, does not look at truancy simply as an issue that must be fixed by having the student attend school.

“We recognize that truancy is a symptom and that we need to address the root of the problem to effectively and appropriately achieve long-term positive outcomes,” said Juvenile Court Judge James A. Shriver.

The reasons for truancy vary, said Kathy Rountree, who supervises the court school liaisons, diversion and probation officers for Juvenile Court. For the child, it could be because a parent is ill, or going through a divorce, or has a substance abuse problem, or is suffering from mental health issues. It could be that the family is struggling financially, and doesn’t have a stable home. It might also be because the child is bullied, or suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder, or even has head lice.

Whatever the reason, truancy officers work to address it. That staff now includes court school liaisons with every district in Clermont County. They work with school personnel, mental health agencies, and Children’s Protective Services to bring a holistic approach to treating truancy issues, Rountree said.

In some cases, court school liaisons help families who are homeless to find homes and assistance for rental deposits, she said. Juvenile Court also operates a virtual lab where students can work to obtain the credits they may have missed. This year teacher Val Davis was hired to help students with their coursework.

“She has been instrumental in helping these kids get caught up on school work and credits,” Rountree said. “She works throughout the summer with every grade level and all types of education, both traditional and nontraditional. She is a strong advocate and a huge asset to our team.”

The program also rewards students – and their parents – as certain goals are reached. These rewards or incentives include gift cards, yearly recognition picnics, and outings.

“The success of this program is based on the individualized approach to working with youth and their families,” Rountree said. “We address the unique needs of each child and family. The support we get from school staff and outside agencies is also key to the success of this program.

“The most important component is the dedicated and passionate group of individuals, starting with Judge Shriver, who work tirelessly to assist our families in recognizing their ability to change and achieve personal growth and academic success,” she added.

How is truancy defined?

In July 2017, House Bill HB410 was passed and it redefined habitual truancy from number of days missed to number of hours missed. It includes students who miss 30 consecutive hours of school without a legitimate excuse, or those who miss 42 hours in one month with or without an excuse, or 72 hours in one year with or without an excuse.


July 16, 2018

A new beginning through Family Treatment Court

Lorraine Brock smiles as she looks at a family picture given to her by Judge Shriver.

BATAVIA, Ohio – Thursday, July 12, was a big day for Lorraine Brock. And a happy day for her and her five children.

Lorraine graduated from Judge James Shriver’s Family Dependency Treatment Court and all her children were there to celebrate the occasion.

Clermont County’s Children’s Protective Services removed Lorraine’s children from her custody in August 2016. “I lost track of what was important. We were homeless. I was using. I had active warrants in three different counties,” Lorraine recounted to Judge Shriver and those at the graduation.

Her children were put in foster care, but even then Lorraine did not stop using. “I started missing supervised visits (with her kids),” she said. It was only a matter of time, she learned, before she would lose custody of her children entirely.

“I didn’t walk away this time,” she said.

At that point, Lorraine was ready to accept help, enter treatment, and start to piece her life back together. She wanted to regain custody of her children, and that’s where the Family Dependency Treatment Court comes in. The court, which began in 2014, works to reunite families, as parents complete a rigorous program.

The program requires weekly appearances before Judge Shriver, as well as frequent drug screens. Parents must submit weekly letters detailing their activities, which comprise a journal that is returned to the parents when they graduate. They must attend AA or similar meetings. They receive treatment. They must have a job and secure stable housing.

Lorraine began the court program in May of 2017. She lived for four months at the Adams Recovery Center. “It was a safe environment, a loving environment. Then I came out into the real world, and realized ‘wow,’ I don’t know what I am doing.” Counselors and recovery coaches at the Clermont Recovery Center offered crucial support for her during this time – and continue to do so, she said.

Lorraine’s path has not been easy, Judge Shriver said, as he commended her for her hard work to maintain her sobriety, keep a job, and reunite with her children.

“Recovery is like growing up,” Lorraine said. “I left life at 12 years old, and I picked it back up at 36.

“This is my road of recovery,” she said, as she gestured at the board that she had put together with pictures and statements showing her life at different times. “I walk it every day.”


October 19, 2017

CASA Fall Fundraiser is Nov. 3

Some of the goodies being auctioned off at CASA’s Fall Fundraiser — Disney luggage for kids, above, and Pottery Barn baskets at left.

BATAVIA, Ohio (Oct. 19, 2018) – Raffle basket after raffle basket dot the floors and tables at CASA for Clermont Kids.

It’s only a few more days until the nonprofit’s annual Fall Fundraiser Dinner and Auction, and these raffle baskets – from Pottery Barn and Disney World, Cincinnati Zoo and Ballet, Loveland-Symmes Fire Department, and Chick-fil-a and Eastgate Brew and View, to name a few – are wrapped up and ready to go.

CASA gets no funding through local taxes, and depends on grants and fundraisers. It runs a lean operation with a break-even budget of $200,000 a year that includes salaries and office expenses for three full-time and two part-time workers.

The Fall Fundraiser is one of CASA’s big events. This year, it will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, at Holiday Inn Eastgate. The gala includes raffle baskets, silent auctions and live auctions. Tickets start at $40 per adult. For more information, call 513,732.7160 or go to CASA’s website: http://casaforclermontkids.org. CASA hopes to raise $40,000 at the Fall Fundraiser, Executive Director Nathan Bell said.

Lykins Energy Solutions, headquartered in Miami Township, is one of CASA’S biggest benefactors. Every September, CEO Jeff Lykins hosts a golf fundraiser for CASA.  On Oct. 18, Lykins presented CASA with a $73,000 check – a huge help to the organization.

A Christmas basket of goodies.

“Over the past 18 years Lykins has raised over $660,000 for CASA,” Bell said. “We are so grateful to Lykins and all their hard-working staff for supporting our program and working so hard each year. We could not have served as many children without their ongoing support.”


October 19, 2017

Advocating for kids when they can’t advocate for themselves

image of Laura Calhoun and Nathan Bell

CASA volunteer Cyndy Wright

BATAVIA, Ohio (Oct. 19, 2017) – Cyndy Wright is a voice for children who have no voice.

Wright, an Assistant Vice President at Park National Bank, is a volunteer guardian ad litem (GAL) for children who enter the Juvenile Court system in Clermont County through no fault of their own. These are children who were removed from their parents’ care because of abuse or neglect. It’s a heartbreaking situation – and Wright, as that child’s guardian, represents that child’s best interests before Judge James Shriver or one of the magistrates in Juvenile Court.

“I am really passionate about it,” Wright said. “It is so rewarding to be able to see that these children have a voice, that they matter.”

Wright is one of 35 guardians ad litem for CASA for Clermont Kids but 35 is hardly enough to handle the almost 120 children under CASA’s care. CASAs – or Court Appointed Special Advocates – can be found throughout the United States and in most counties in Ohio. The ones in Ohio are governed by Ohio Supreme Court rules, said Nathan Bell, Executive Director for the Clermont CASA, which ensures that certain standards are met by the GALs.

Bell is passionate, too. His undergrad degree focused on sociology and psychology, and he always knew he wanted to work with children. Instead of becoming a therapist, he got a law degree from Duke University, and focused his efforts on courts and children. Before coming to Clermont County in 2014 to take over the reins at CASA, he was a full-time GAL for the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office for 12 years.

‘The only consistent person’

“The difference that guardians ad litem make – other than being the community’s eyes on how the system is working for this child – is that we are sometimes the only consistent person in their life while they are involved in the court system,” Bell said. “As they move, changing homes, changing schools, changing CPS caseworkers, we are there. They know, this is my person, they are only for me, they are MY voice.”

To become a guardian ad litem, volunteers go through an initial screening and interview, before undergoing 30 hours of training. They go to court during this time to get a feel for the kinds of cases they will be assigned. Once they are certified, they are always accompanied to court by one of the volunteer coordinators who work for CASA.

Wright became interested in becoming a guardian ad litem after seeing the impact a GAL made in a case involving a member of her extended family. “I was happy that she was represented,” Wright said. “This was something I wanted to pursue … to be the voice of a child in the court system.”

Photos of some of the guardians ad litem at CASA.

She has been a guardian for six children since 2010, including two siblings. The children she has advocated for have been young – no one has been older than 8, with several between 18 months and 3 years. She visits each child at least once a month, and before every court hearing, which is typically every three months. Since most cases stretch from 18 months to two years, guardians must commit to being with the child during that period. (It takes up to two years to sever parental rights if the court decides that needs to happen.)

“When I meet with the child, I tell them what my job is,” Wright said. “I tell them that the judge wants to do what is best for them. I ask them what they would like me to tell the judge. Sometimes it’s as simple as ‘I scored a goal in soccer.’ Sometimes  it’s ‘I just want Mommy and Daddy to be back together again.’”

To determine what is best for the child, the guardian will meet with and interview the family, will meet with relatives, and with teachers if the child is in school. “We follow the parents’ progress … are they working hard to get better? Are they visiting their child? It’s complex to say the least,” says Wright.

A solution for the child

Wright says she does get attached to the children, but training helps her to manage that. “It’s inevitable to care about the children,” she said, “but you know there is going to be a solution for the child. When you see the parents do the work and be reunited with their child, or when you see the child adopted into a forever family.”

CASA is always looking for volunteers, Bell says. “We are looking for people who are committed and consistent, who are able to do volunteer work for a minimum of two years. We need people who are kind, considerate, caring, and can also be the balanced voice for the child.”

Volunteers must have a clean criminal record, be able to drive, and have some flexibility so that they can appear at court during the hearings, held every three months. Visiting with children and others can be done at night or on the weekend. Wright says she is grateful that Park National, which is a big supporter of community causes in Clermont County, allows her the flexibility to be a GAL.

The commitment more than pays off, Wright says. “You have blessed a family, you have blessed a child – you are richer for it.”

To find out more about becoming a guardian ad litem for CASA for Clermont Kids, please contact Nathan Bell at 513.732.7160 or email him at Nathan@casaforclermontkids.org. #######


April 4, 2017

Accountability is key to couple’s success in Judge Shriver’s Treatment Court

BATAVIA, Ohio  (April 4, 2017) – March 23, 2017, was a momentous day for Charles and Michele Wehby.

That day, the Amelia couple officially graduated from Clermont County’s Family Dependency Treatment Court. Juvenile Court Judge James Shriver, who runs the Treatment Court, praised the couple’s progress over the year-and-a-half they spent in his court, working their sobriety and eventually reclaiming custody of their three children.

It has not been an easy journey.

Charles, 33, and Michele, 28, married in 2007. Charles began using heroin when he was 19, and was still in active addiction when he got married. Michele, who had used pills and smoked marijuana, eventually followed her husband into heroin use. “Our marriage was built on drugs and alcohol,” Charles said. “I didn’t want to grow up. I wanted to goof off, drink, and do drugs.”

“This was something I never had imagined,” Michele said. “I quickly became the person I had looked down upon. I was losing my home and losing my children.”

An emotional moment for Charles and Michele Wehby.

In and our of rehab

Charles and Michele were in and out of jail and rehab through the years, but nothing stuck. And then, in 2013, after an emergency hearing, Clermont County Children’s Protective Services removed their children: Richard Sahlin, Alexis and Keira Wehby. “Losing our kids was the main thing that kept me grounded,” Michele said. Despite the cycle of rehab and relapse, “Somewhere in our minds, our kids were always there.”

In July 2015, desperate to regain their children, Charles and Michele entered Judge Shriver’s Treatment Court, a special docket court that is open to parents who have lost custody of their children and are willing to go through a rigorous program to reunite their families. The Wehbys are the second couple that have successfully completed the program.

One thing made a difference this time, they said: Accountability. Now, they were accountable to Judge Shriver and his program administrator, Angela Livesay, as they worked through the program.

The Family Dependency Treatment Court requires weekly appearances before Judge Shriver, as well as frequent drug screens. Parents must submit weekly letters detailing their activities. Charles and Michele attend frequent AA meetings and have also gone through marital and family counseling. Both are receiving Medication Assisted Treatment to help relieve cravings for opiates.

“We needed the accountability,” Charles said. “We weren’t living right.”

“It’s the best thing that ever happened to us,” Michele added.

On Aug. 9, 2016, their children were returned to them. “It was Richard and Keira’s birthday,” Michelle remembers. “It was the best birthday present.”

Church has helped

Their church, Vineyard Cincinnati Church at Eastgate, has been instrumental in their recovery, they said. “We’ve gotten humongous support from them,” Michele said. “We had to change everything – people we talked to, music we listened to. We listen to K-Love now!”

Today, both Charles and Michele work. Their children attend West Clermont schools.

For Richard, now 11, having his family back together means the world. He could not stop smiling at the graduation ceremony. “It’s awesome, being back with Mom and Dad,” he said. “I remember the day we got taken away. Mom was blowing kisses at us. We’re all now a family. We can enjoy each other.”

“It was harder on our kids than on us,” Charles said. “I will always feel guilty about that. But I can use that guilt in a positive way.”

“There’s always hope,” he added. “If you had told me four years ago we’d be where we are today, I would have called you a liar. It blows my mind.”

“The accountability saved my life,” Michele said. “Now we get to watch our kids grow up.”

For more information on the Family Dependency Treatment Court, contact Angela Livesay at 513.732.7685 or email her alivesay@clermontcountyohio.gov.


January 9, 2017

Family Treatment Court earns final certification

Judge Shriver

BATAVIA, Ohio (Jan. 9, 2017) — The Family Dependency Treatment Court of the Clermont County Juvenile Court has earned final certification from the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on Specialized Dockets.

To receive the certification, the local court had to submit an application, host a site visit, and provide specific program materials in response to certification standards that went into effect in January 2014.

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor congratulated the Clermont County Juvenile Family Dependency Treatment Court and Judge James A. Shriver for receiving final certification.

“Specialized dockets divert offenders toward criminal justice initiatives that employ tools and tailored services to treat and rehabilitate the offender so they can become productive members of society,” said Justice O’Connor. “Studies have shown this approach works by reducing recidivism while saving tax dollars.”

Specialized dockets are courts that are dedicated to specific types of offenses or offenders, and use a combination of different techniques for holding offenders accountable while also addressing the underlying causes of their behavior. There are more than 210 specialized dockets in Ohio courts that deal with issues such as:

  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Mental health
  • Domestic violence
  • Human trafficking

The standards provide a minimum level of uniform practices for specialized dockets throughout Ohio, and allow local courts to innovate and tailor to meet their community’s needs and resources.

In this particular instance, the Family Dependency Treatment Court is provided as a voluntary option for parents whose children have been removed from their custody because of issues involving substance abuse.  The Family Dependency Treatment Court requires frequent court hearing attendance, office appointments, random drug screens, participation in substance abuse treatment and many other elements to support and encourage sobriety.

“The Family Dependency Treatment Court takes a holistic approach to deal with all problems in a family to bring families together again permanently. We have been successful in reunifying children to parents in very difficult circumstances. I am honored that the Supreme Court of Ohio recognizes the importance and great value in the program,” said Judge James A. Shriver.

The certification requirements include establishing eligibility requirements, evaluating effectiveness of the specialized docket, and assembling a treatment team for implementing daily operations of the specialized docket. The team can include licensed treatment providers, law enforcement, court personnel, and is headed by the specialized docket judge.

The Commission on Specialized Dockets has 22 members who advise the Supreme Court and its staff regarding the promotion of statewide rules and uniform standards concerning specialized dockets in Ohio courts; the development and delivery of specialized docket services to Ohio courts; and the creation of training programs for judges and court personnel. The commission makes all decisions regarding final certification.


December 27, 2016

2 Juvenile Court initiatives win statewide awards

Judge James Shriver

BATAVIA, Ohio (Dec. 27, 2016) – Two initiatives of the Clermont County Juvenile Court were recognized by the Ohio Department of Youth Services during its annual awards ceremony on Dec. 1.

Child Focus Inc., which provides comprehensive services to families and children in Clermont County, received the 2016 J. Thomas Mullen Achievement Award for its Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) program. In the particular case recognized, Juvenile Court Judge James Shriver had referred twin brothers and their mother to MDFT. The boys had been involved in Juvenile Court and probation for several years and could have been removed from their home for continuous infractions, including substance abuse, leaving home without permission, and truancy.

Once in MDFT, the boys and their mother participated in counseling sessions together. Their mother set up and enforced household rules, which the boys followed. Their school attendance and grades improved. The boys are on track to be released from probation in the near future, Judge Shriver said.

The court’s Truancy Intervention Program was awarded the 2016 Community Recognition Award. In 2015, the court added three part-time school liaison positions to help with truancy intervention. It also added a Virtual Lab of five computers to help students complete work for high school graduation.

In the case meriting the award, a high school student was very behind in school credits. He had numerous family issues and sometimes missed school to care for younger siblings. A staffer from the Truancy Intervention Program helped him set up a plan to make up the credits. By working online through his home school and the Virtual Lab at Juvenile Court, he was able to graduate last summer.

“We are pleased that these programs, which have been demonstrated to work, were recognized by the Department of Youth Services,” Judge Shriver said. “Our goal is to help those youth who come into the Juvenile Court system to change their behavior, emerge from probation, and see a brighter future for themselves. These programs help them do just that.”


September 29, 2016

Community Service programs provide an alternative for youth offenders

BATAVIA, Ohio (Sept. 29, 2016) – Several days a week, Nikki Nicodemus climbs into her Juvenile Probation van and makes sure that the youth offenders who have been assigned to Community Service get to their workplace and do their job.

She’s been doing this for 11 years. She loves it. Summers and spring break are particularly busy, when most of the youth’s work is done outside in the heat. “I get to know these kids,” she said. “You hear their stories. Some of these kids aren’t learning any basic job skills at home.” She’ll often walk them through basic chores and yard work, demonstrating how to do the tasks.

The Clermont County Juvenile Probation Work Detail Program, which Nicodemus supervises, was developed as an alternative sanction to youth offenders, allowing them a way of “paying back” the community. Typical offenses include traffic infractions like speeding, misdemeanor burglary, trespassing, and “unruly” charges, such as running away or violating curfew. Sometimes youth who are convicted of felonies may also perform community service.

Thousands of hours

In 2015 there were a total of 1,517 delinquency filings in Juvenile Court (185 felonies and 1,332 misdemeanors) and 320 youth were supervised through the Probation Department. Of those, 227 youth participated in Community Service programs. These young people, ages 13-18, worked a total of 4,488 hours.

One of the Community Service programs allows for restitution. In those cases, the wages the youth earns are applied toward compensating the victim of the offense. More than $7,000 was earned in 2015 in the restitution program, all going to help victims. “The restitution program is huge,” Nicodemus said. “Without it the victims would never get paid.”

Clermont County’s Community Service programs have been in effect for more than 20 years. “We are one of the leaders in the State of Ohio,” said Doug Young, Supervisor of the Juvenile Probation Department. “A lot of courts lost their program during the recession, but we were able to keep ours.”

Many employer partners

Juvenile Probation has arrangements with employers throughout the county, many of them in the public sector, such as the Ohio Department of Transportation, Miami Township, Felicity School District, Clermont Northeastern School District, the Williamsburg Street Department, and Adams/ Brown County Recycling. Others include non-profits such as the Amelia Animal Rescue Fund, Milford/Beechmont  St. Vincent De Paul, Amelia Grace & Mercy, Amelia All Dogs Come From Heaven, Loveland Grailville, Goshen Mellonridge Care Center, and New Richmond and Williamsburg Animal Clinic.

One longtime partner has been the Ohio Department of Transportation and its “Adopt a Highway” program, Nicodemus said. Much of the work is done during spring break and summer vacation. The teens pick up litter along State Routes 133, 727, 276, 222, and 232. They also help clean up county and township roads. In 2015, the youth cleaned up 85 miles of roads, filling almost 600 bags of litter. “They are amazed by how much litter they find,” Nicodemus said.

One of the challenges of the Community Service programs is scheduling, she says. Most of the teens are attending school. She has to take into account their school schedules and their parents’ availability when planning their work detail. “We must rely on parents for transportation to the Probation Office or to the worksite,” Nicodemus said. “There are sentencing guidelines. If youth are sentenced to less than 40 hours, they must complete that within 45 days, and for more than 40 hours, they must complete within 65 days. Scheduling can be a very challenging.”

Nicodemus, who graduated in 2005 from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice, says she loves being out in the field with the teens. “These youths come in with so much hype and energy. At the end of the day, they are exhausted.” She said performing Community Service gives the youth a sense of accomplishment, and a sense that they are contributing to their community.

“Community service provides an opportunity for the youth to be held accountable and make reparations to their community for their delinquent actions,” said Judge James A. Shriver, who presides over Juvenile Court. “The community receives real benefits through the removal of trash from the roadways and non-profit organizations benefit from work that helps them to devote their time and energy to other projects. Our youth learn the value of work and job skills for future employment. The work helps to teach responsible behavior, instilling in them empathy, compassion, a sense of self-worth, and a desire for further community engagement as adults.”