Butte County will soon begin its own diversion program for local youths with drug or alcohol infractions that do not necessitate legal action, reports the Black Hills Pioneer.
Several other local communities, including Deadwood, Sturgis, and Spearfish already have these programs in place, and up until now, Butte County has been forced to send juveniles out of town for treatment. However, with help from the Sturgis Action for the Betterment of the Community (ABC), Belle Fourche will have its own diversion program, which will include tobacco treatment and life skills and choices courses. Butte County Deputy States Attorney Cassie Wendt hopes that the coalition will help to educate juveniles about drugs and alcohol and provide an important step outside of the legal system.
The program will work on a referral basis, and will be run by a collaborative board of county and city officials, hopefully including parents, government officials, law enforcement, and school, religious, civic, health, and business leaders from the area.
The first board meeting will be held July 7, and will be followed by coalition meetings open to the public.