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Juvenile Detention is the temporary and safe custody of juveniles who are accused of conduct subject to the jurisdiction of the court who require a restricted environment for their own or the community's protection while pending legal action. It is a specific kind of child care needed for those children coming in conflict with the law and who require secure confinement for their own protection or for the protection of the community. The term "detention" refers to the temporary care of children awaiting disposition; those children who are awaiting placements; or those children who have been sentenced to Detention by the Judge of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. Juvenile detention provides a wide range of helpful services, which support the juvenile's physical, emotional and social development. Helpful services minimally include but are not limited to education, recreation, counseling, nutrition, medical and health care services, visitation, communication and continuous supervision. Juvenile detention includes or provides for a system of clinical observation and assessment that complements the helpful services and reports findings. These services occur in an atmosphere providing well-defined limits and a sense of security for the child. This means that the physical and emotional needs of the child must all be respected, while not neglecting the importance of safety and security for the individual and the group.
A nineteen member Commission operates the Merrimac Center. The Center is located on Route 143 five miles south of Williamsburg. The facility houses forty-eight youth, ages seven through seventeen, under detention order from a juvenile court. The Center serves both male and female youth who are awaiting hearings in the courts as well as those who may be sentenced to detention. All required services can be provided at the site with the exception of emergency medical and some specialized care.
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