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caption: Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Deputy Executive Rhonda Berry at a press conference announcing the intent to move youth detention oversight to Public Health Seattle King County.
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Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Deputy Executive Rhonda Berry at a press conference announcing the intent to move youth detention oversight to Public Health Seattle King County.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Public health to oversee King County youth detention

King County Executive Dow Constantine is making a change he says will help the county with its effort to dramatically reduce the practice of detaining young people arrested for crimes.

Constantine signed an executive order Thursday moving oversight of youth detention to Public Health Seattle King County.

He’s asked the Department to come up with a proposal by mid-February for the change. Right now, the Youth Services Center on Alder street is part of the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention.

Patty Hayes, director of Public Health — Seattle & King County, said the department is well positioned to provide the best possible environment and support for youth who enter into the justice system.

“We know from research that youth trauma can have a collective impact. It’s intergenerational. We also know that there are ways to rewrite that script if we provide the right support for youth at the right time,” Hayes said.

In addition, Constantine said the county will contract with the Vera Institute of Justice to review current juvenile detention policies and practices and recommend reforms.