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Sheriff Chitwood & Team Applaud Volusia County Council's Approval Of New Juvenile Center

Date Added: February 15, 2022 4:16 pm

Andrew Gant
Office of Public Affairs & Media Relations


Sheriff Mike Chitwood, the Volusia Sheriff’s Office team and several partner agencies working to improve the systems of juvenile justice, social services and mental health in Volusia County applauded this morning’s Volusia County Council vote that will provide funding for a comprehensive, centrally located juvenile assessment center in Daytona Beach.

"Today marks a huge step forward in facing the root causes of juvenile crime in our county," Sheriff Chitwood said following the unanimous vote in council chambers. "We’re putting together a unified front to make sure there are consequences for criminal behavior, and resources for kids and families who need them. Kudos to the Volusia County Council and administration for having the vision to bring the funding to the table."

The council’s vote dedicates $5.4 million in federal relief funding from the American Rescue Plan to help launch a new Family Resource Center that will be staffed by VSO deputies and staff, along with members of the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Children’s Home Society of Florida and Volusia County Schools.

"The Juvenile Assessment Center is a unique collaboration of services all under one roof, geared toward helping our students in need," said Volusia County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ronald “Scott” Fritz. "I truly believe the right kind of guidance and support makes all the difference and will help students who are experiencing these difficulties."

The facility will be located in an existing building at 1150 Red John Road, Daytona Beach. The funding approved today covers the cost of modifying the building to accommodate the program, plus four years of Sheriff’s Office operations there.

Juvenile crime has been a major focus in Volusia County in recent years, magnified by several high-profile incidents including a June 2021 incident involving two runaways, ages 14 and 12, who ran away from a group home, burglarized a house, stole guns from inside and opened fire on deputies. Both children had previously been taken into protective custody under the Baker Act multiple times.

In recent months, Volusia County has seen several other cases of juveniles involved in serious criminal activity, including:

  • Last month, a 14-year-old boy who pulled a gun on a DeLand skating rink employee was arrested along with his 15-year-old friend who handed him the weapon, which had been reported stolen.
  • A day before that, two 15-year-old boys were arrested in the shooting of an 18-year-old in Deltona, committed while both boys were already on juvenile probation.
  • In November, a 14-year-old boy in DeBary was charged with attempted murder in the shooting of a man looking to buy some marijuana.
  • Last June, an 18-year-old with an extensive criminal history dating back to the age of 12 was arrested after a friend said he held him at gunpoint in a car and forced him to flee from deputies. That defendant has since died of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound.
  • In April 2021, a security officer at Florida United Methodist Children’s Home died after a 14-year-old boy punched him. The defendant later entered a plea of no contest to manslaughter.

Since taking office in 2017 and bringing a dedicated juvenile services director to the Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Chitwood has been pushing for new programs to address juvenile crime. In 2017, the Sheriff’s Office launched an ankle monitoring program modeled after what Sheriff Chitwood previously implemented as chief of the Daytona Beach Police Department. This year, in a partnership with the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Sheriff’s Office is now responsible for tracking all juvenile ankle monitors in the county.

An official launch date for the new Family Resource Center has not been set, but the target is this fall.

See also: Sheriff advocates for Volusia juvenile assessment center to break prison cycle (Daytona Beach News-Journal, May 24, 2019)

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