IMPACTS ON LEWIS COUNTY YOUTH FROM THE YEAR OF COVID-19: ‘SOMEBODY HAS TO DO SOMETHING’

CHEHALIS – The educational, physical and mental health impacts on local youth from the year and a half of coronavirus in our community was shared by Lewis County Juvenile Court Administrator Shad Hail in a discussion with county commissioners on Tuesday. Hail says the snapshot comes from the number of kids that have unenrolled from schools. An estimated 6.2% of students in Lewis County,  which is more than double reported statewide. So far, juvenile court staff has identified 147 students, and through family contact and what Hail called “visioneering” it’s hoped these students will enter school again in the fall. Hail says his staff determined “somebody has to do something”, and with the number of students who have fallen through the cracks, he says “The impact that is going to have on this community for years to come would be impossible to overstate.” Hail added, “Our goal is if you have an unfortunate situation within 24 hours somebody is going to be contacting you and to stop behaviors before they escalate. We’re dreaming of a whole new way of doing truancy intervention this fall.” “Beginning shortly we will be partnering with law enforcement agencies and contacting those families, because we are the agency that knows and is connected with every provider and know of the services that are available”, says Hail. Lewis County Commissioners applauded the juvenile court staff and local schools for their efforts. Commissioner Lindsey Pollock says the encapsulated family effort is going “To pay dividends in the child’s life and in the adults as well, and be a general benefit to our society.”

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