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      Nebraska Chief Justice Addresses Legislature, Touts Juvenile Pilot Program

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      In his Sate of the Judiciary speech Thursday, Chief Justice Michael Heavican told lawmakers that a state pilot program designed to treat delinquent juveniles without making them state wards is working so far.

      Heavican reported that the program has treated 600 juveniles since July 1. Around 80 percent of the juveniles have complete probation, a number that is higher than the state's average.

      The three pilot areas include Omaha, North Platte and Scottsbluff. About 80 percent of those in the program were able to stay at home with their families instead of being institutionalized.

      The program came to be last year as lawmakers worked to overhaul the state's child welfare system.

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