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Gov. Beshear Opening First Female-Only Juvenile Detention Center to Better Protect Youth

​Female juveniles only to be housed in Campbell County 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 1, 2022) – Furthering his commitment to keeping youth in state custody safe and secure, Gov. Andy Beshear has ordered the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to open a female-only detention center in Campbell County. Beginning this month, females between the ages of 11 to 18 ordered by the courts to secure detention will be housed at the DJJ Campbell Regional Juvenile Detention Center, with limited exceptions. 

“Our policies and laws that govern juvenile justice were created over 20 years ago. It is time positive changes are made to better respond to today's needs," said Gov. Beshear. “By separating female and male juveniles, we are enhancing the safety of our staff and youth in state custody. I remain committed to doing everything possible to provide health care, education and safety to all Kentuckians – including our youth who deserve a second chance."

The detention center located in Newport has 35 detention beds available. Per state statute, female juveniles will be separated based on where they are in the process of their court case. As at any DJJ facility, youth will receive education, counseling, recreation opportunities, meals, snacks and health care.  

“I hope one day we live in a society where juvenile detention centers are no longer needed," DJJ Commissioner Vicki Reed said. “Until that time comes, we will work to rehabilitate the youth in our custody so they are ready to make a positive change in the world and not return to custody." 

The state is recruiting 15 Kentuckians to work at the Campbell Regional Juvenile Detention Center to safely protect the female juveniles and provide successful reentry skills. Available job openings include youth workers, administrative specialists and social service clinicians.

Youth workers are the direct line of care and are some of the most needed and influential adults in the lives of youth in residential placement. They oversee daily activities, maintain safety and security, and assist youth with school and other pro-social activities while modeling and teaching positive social skills.

The hourly pay for a youth worker in Campbell County starts at $21.45. Shift hourly premium is also available, allowing employees to earn upwards of $25.71 an hour. New hires will receive a 5% pay increase after working for one year.
Some of the specific requirements for youth worker applicants are:

  • A high school diploma or GED;
  • The ability to physically respond to an emergency situation;
  • A background check free of any sexual related offense, domestic violence, human or drug trafficking or drug-related charge in the last eight years; a conviction of a felony, a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence or trafficking in narcotics, drugs or controlled substances; and
  • A valid driver's license.
Anyone hired as a youth worker will attend four weeks of training. For more about a career with DJJ, visit the Kentucky Personnel's Cabinet website.

Today's announcement follows recent actions the administration has taken to support the Department of Juvenile Justice. 

In November, DJJ created a Compliance Branch to conduct random staff interviews and unannounced facility inspections. The branch's goal is to enhance safety and security throughout DJJ and make recommendations to leadership for improvements. 

In October, Gov. Beshear and DJJ awarded $354,666 in grant funding to assist state and local governments in reducing juvenile crime by preventing justice system involvement or intervening with first-time and non-serious offenders to divert contact with the juvenile justice system.

The Governor and Commissioner Reed reopened the Mayfield Youth Development Center, located in Graves Co., in July after the facility experienced extensive damage from the December 2021 tornadoes.