Gov. McMaster announces $12 million in GEER funds is going to the Department of Juvenile Justice

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– Wednesday, Governor Henry McMaster announced that $12 million of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund will go to the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. The governor says the funds will be used to help expand the juvenile delinquency prevention programs.

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Gov. McMaster announces allocation of GEER Funds to DJJ
Image: ABC Columbia

Among those funds are $4.8 million towards boosting counseling efforts and $1.25 million for Teen After-School centers that support at-risk high school students. Additionally, $4 million will go to the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance for summer and after-school programs for at-risk youth in rural areas and $2 million for full-time mentoring programs that support education and skill development.

“The long-drawn-out closure of a number of South Carolina schools has dealt a blow to the educational and social development of some of our most vulnerable young people,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “These funds will directly change the course of lives and communities throughout the state. Our goal is invest in these young people at an early age and give them the tools and resources they need to stay ‘outside the fence’ rather than in the ‘inside the fence’ at the Department of Juvenile Justice.”

The governor’s office says South Carolina’s share of GEER funds was $48 million.

Officials see this allocation of funds as being proactive towards helping our community and the families that are a part of it.

“We aren’t sitting back and waiting for youth to be referred to DJJ before stepping in to help,” said DJJ Director Freddie Pough. “That’s why we proactively offer front-end prevention and intervention services to support families and keep our state’s youth from unnecessarily penetrating the juvenile justice system. The COVID-19 pandemic has unequivocally impacted youth and families – educationally, socially and emotionally. With a potential for increased delinquency due to this pandemic, these funds will allow us to meet youth where they are and reinvest in the next generation of South Carolinians.”

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