VALPARAISO | Porter County juvenile officials are enacting home arrest fees to help fund a wider effort of reducing the number of children in detention.
The idea is to more fully recognize the negative impact of detention on young people and allow appropriate candidates to go home with supervision and support, said Alison Cox, director of juvenile detention.
"It's just a different philosophy," she said.
The Porter County Commissioners gave initial approval Tuesday afternoon to a $3 daily fee for low risk children and $5 for those in need of more intensive support, Cox said.
Proceeds from the fee, which will take effect once final approval is granted by the commissioners, should eventually fund the hiring of part-time help with the home arrest program, she said.
There have typically been between 35 and 40 young people on house arrest, Cox said. That number will likely grow to 50 once the fee takes effect.
This compares to about 15 in home detention.
House arrest is typically assigned to young people after they are arrested and before they go to court. Home detention is an alternative to incarceration after a young person has been found guilty.
The new fee can only be charged once a young person is determined by the court to be delinquent, but the money can be collected for the entire period of house arrest before that determination is made, Cox said.
In other business Tuesday, the commissioners chose a contractor to replace the Evergreen Avenue bridge over Willow Creek in Portage.
Work should begin Oct. 22 and be completed near the end of January on the bridge, which was closed in March 2011 as a result of deterioration.
The project was awarded to Gariup Construction Co. at a price of $573,400.
The commissioners also heard a request by the Valparaiso Soccer Club to build and help maintain three soccer fields at the site of the former county home south of U.S. 30 on Ind. 2.
The proposal was referred to the county park board for its consideration.