LAGRANGE — JDAI had a pretty good year, Randy Merrifield, the program’s director told members of the LaGrange County Council Monday morning.

JDAI, or Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, is a program designed to help communities find alternatives to locking up juveniles in youth detention centers but still hold them accountable for their actions,

Merrifield stood at the podium in the commissioner’s chambers with the council members who were holding their regular monthly meeting Monday and read from a long list of accomplishments his JDAI program achieved this year.

Those included a new program created this summer where JDAI joined forces with the LaGrange County Parks and Recreation Department, as well as other local law enforcement and community organizations to treat youth to a day of outdoor activities such as archery and corn hole combined with the chance to win several items donated to the event as prizes.

“Just an update on JDAI and what we’re doing,” he said. “We’ve expanded so much in the last couple of years that it’s almost hard to believe we’ve got so many programs going.”

The state and state law enforcement agencies have liked what they see in the LaGrange County JDAI program and have responded by awarding the program several different grants to help it continue to succeed, he told the council member. Merrifield said those grants total nearly $70,000, all of which he reinvests in JDAI and other county programs aimed at helping keep teens out of trouble.

Merrifield told the council members JDAI helps support programs already in place and operated by local school districts, such as Lakeland’s peer coaching programs where students work with other students, some as young as elementary grade students, to help achieve success in the classroom. Merrifield said JDAI helps support the program by paying the student coaches almost $600 a year for their time and effort.

Other programs JDAI support include Sources of Strength, as well as similar programs in both Westview and Prairie Heights.

Merrifield also told the council members that program like house check, which looks in on juveniles sentenced to home detention is now at an all-time low, thanks to other intervention programs designed to reach troubled students before they wind up before a judge.

The number of teens sentenced to the local community service program was down again last year.

“We use to have 15 to 20 kids sentenced to that program each year,” he said. “Now that’s down to four or five.”