Lancaster County Youth Intervention Center

Lancaster County's Youth Intervention Center, in a 2002 file photo.

Editor's note: This story accompanies a larger story about President Judge David Ashworth letting people out of prison amid coronavirus risk.

Coronavirus is also a concern in the county juvenile system and officials have taken precautions there as well, releasing five youths, cleaning surfaces daily and monitoring staff and residents for any sign of illness.

The county's Youth Intervention Center houses youths accused of wrongdoing in its detention program. In its shelter program, it houses children placed by Children and Youth Services for their protection, and kids who are between foster care homes.

As of late last week, the center had seven youths in juvenile detention and 14 in shelter. It has 48 detention beds and 36 shelter beds.

No one has shown any symptoms of coronavirus, according to director Drew Fredericks.

In reviewing cases suitable for release, President Judge David Ashworth said, five juveniles were released with appropriate aftercare service plans when the COVID-19 crisis first arose.

The reduced population helps with keeping social distancing among those in the facility, he said.

Frederick said residents and staff are monitored daily for signs of illness, and surfaces such as door handles, phones, keyboards and handrails are disinfected daily.

Ashworth said 18 juveniles are in placement at other facilities. These are juveniles who've been “adjudicated delinquent” — the juvenile court equivalent of being convicted in adult court.

Those facilities had notified the county of what steps they were taking to control coronavirus before the county had a chance to ask about such measures, Ashworth said. The facilities have also increased use of remote conferencing technology.

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