Officials from Kentucky tour Cape's Girardot Center

Saturday, April 9, 2005

Delegates from the Kentucky Division of Youth Services and Department of Social Services learned a lesson or two Friday as they toured the Girardot Center.

The center, which is to help court-committed juveniles become more self-reliant, responsible and productive, is about the same size as Kentucky's facilities. Small facilities mean personal attention for each of the children, and a focus on vocational training and the importance of education.

Despite the similarities, Bridget Brown, commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice in Kentucky, expressed interest in incorporating the Girardot Center's "group concept where the same employees work with the same kids day in and out." She believes the concept is worth a try if the department can increase the number of staff.

The Kentucky visitors observed the program, which boasts a 92 percent success rate, firsthand as children of the Girardot Center led the tour. They explained how the center has altered their lives.

"The kids here are able to articulate the changes they have gone through," said Kentucky state psychologist Dr. Rodney Woung. "That is one of the things our kids struggle with -- is why they are in there and what they should get out of it."

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