LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Over 10,000 juveniles have gone through the Multi-Agency Resource Center, or, M.A.R.C. since its opening in 2011.
"Misdemeanor offenses, shoplifting, trespassing, small property damages. Not major, not felonies," Bill Sommers, Director of the Office of Juvenile Justice Services, said.
Sommers said these are some examples of non-violent crimes that some of the kids who go through the center commit. The center is an opportunity to avoid going to a detention center and learn a lesson.
"We give them the assistance, and some tools they maybe don't have yet, fully developed, and we'll give them the tools to be able to when they leave is to be able to be successful," Sommers said.
Sommers said the center can't take all of the credit, though. The goal of the M.A.R.C. is to give at-risk kids a one-stop shop to meet with community services within a few hours.
"I mean, we're not the service provided here or a mental health agency. We have those people in the community who do that. What we do is facilitate those services and get them where they need to go," Sommers said.
The M.A.R.C. will now offer extended hours and services to those youths who have to go through their center. This will allow children to come in past typical business hours.
Their new hours are:
- Monday and Tuesday: 8 a.m.- 2 p.m.
- Wednesday-Saturday: 8 a.m.- 4 a.m.
- Sunday: 1 p.m.- 11 p.m
"We are going to be one of the only government agencies in this nation outside of law enforcement that is open 7 days a week, 112 hours. That is amazing for people to be able to walk in here when problems arise all hours of the night and say, 'I need help,'" Dennis Scott, District 6 police juror, said.