New board, operations structure for youth justice services in county

Oct 30, 2015 By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Justice services for youth in Fremont County are operating under a new structure and with a new community advisory board.

The youth services, juvenile treatment court, and day reporting center departments now are operating under one leader - the director of juvenile justice services. The Fremont County Commission appointed Susan Shipley to that role.

She formerly served as the head of the adult and juvenile treatment court programs.

"(We) are more collaborative with each other under one department," Shipley said in an interview.

The structural change took effect July 1. Fremont County commissioners appointed a new, trimmed-down community advisory board last month to guide the county board on juvenile justice issues.

A similar board had served in the past, but commissioners thought it was too big to be efficient and appointed a new slate of people to the group.

"By cutting the board members down to a manageable number, we thought they could get the same if not more accomplished," Fremont County Commissioner Travis Becker said.

He serves as the liaison to the juvenile justice services department.

Now on the committee are Fremont County Attorney Pat LeBrun, public defender James Whiting, Fremont County Sheriff Skip Hornecker, Riverton Police Department chief Mike Broad, Northern Arapaho Department of Family Services director Rachel Felter, Eastern Shoshone Department of Social Services director Clarence Thomas, a Wyoming Department of Family Services representative and Fremont County School District 21 superintendent Terry Ebert.

The three agencies now under one umbrella provide different services but work with some of the same individuals.

Youth service provides probation services and classes like anger management to minors, Shipley said. Juvenile treatment court provides drug and alcohol treatment to youths, she said, and the day reporting center provides education to students who are expelled or suspended.

The agency is located in the old Riverton High School building, where teachers and other staff work with the students on classes and community projects.

Staff who worked in those agencies will continue to do so in the new structure.

"We still continue to have the expertise of Chuck Kratz coordinating all of the youth services probation," Shipley said. "Melinda Cox coordinates services of the day reporting center and juvenile treatment court."

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