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New workshop aims to help lower juvenile cases in the Valley

New workshop aims to help lower juvenile cases in the Valley
9 months 3 weeks 2 days ago Wednesday, September 27 2023 Sep 27, 2023 September 27, 2023 11:19 AM September 27, 2023 in News - Local

The number of juvenile cases is already on track to surpass last year's case count.

"Last year we finished the year with about 700 to 800 cases," 449th District Court Judge Renee Rodriguez-Betancourt said. "We have seen so many young children being diagnosis with mental health diagnosis such as depression, anxiety." 

Children with behavioral health needs sometimes find themselves in the courtroom of Judge Betancourt. 

She, along with the Texas Judicial Commission on Mental Health, hosted the first of its kind workshop in Hidalgo County.

They focused on helping Hidalgo County leaders improving the juvenile justice system. 

"To address not only concerns but also resources, gaps and also to create innovative ideas in regard to mental health," Judge Betancourt said.

She said over the last year she has seen a rise in juvenile cases and some of the criminal cases she sees in her court are linked to mental health issues.

Judge Betancourt says she wants city police and school officials who attended the workshop to find alternatives to juvie, like counseling services. 

Those who were at the workshop will meet again to ensure they're making progress.

Watch the video above for the full story.

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