A new research program approved by the Blaine County commissioners Tuesday will aim to increase parental engagement in the juvenile justice system.

The Leveraging Evidence To Activate Parents Project—"Project LEAP" for short—was brought to the county by the Oregon Social Learning Center, a youth- and family-focused research center that the county has worked with in the past, Chief Probation Officer Teresa Espedal told the commissioners.

Project LEAP, which begins in March and will go through the end of 2024, will train Blaine County’s juvenile probation officers to better engage and involve parents of youths who have contact with the Probation Department. The training will help probation officers give parents "the tools they need" to help their children achieve "better outcomes," Espedal said.

She said Blaine County is one of a number of counties participating in the program.

The commissioners unanimously granted the Probation Department permission to participate in Project LEAP.

"I’m sure there will be a need given the environment that we’ve gone through this past year and the disruption to schools and programs," Commissioner Dick Fosbury said. "I think this could be very valuable for the county."

Email the writer: gkauffman@mtexpress.com

Load comments