Opened in 2005, the Juvenile Detention Center provides secure short-term detention for juvenile offenders in a safe and supportive environment. This modern 48-bed facility provides ample housing and programming space for local detainees who are awaiting further disposition by the courts.
History of the program:
The Lehigh County Juvenile Detention Center was established in 1949 as a function of the juvenile court. In earlier years, the structure was used as a quarantine facility for Cedarbrook, the county nursing home.
The facility was originally designed to house eight youths and was staffed by "house parents," a married couple that lived in the building. With time, the original house couple became three couples working rotating shifts of three days on and six off. The head house parent through the chief juvenile probation officer administered program supervision.
In 1976, the facility was enlarged to house 16 residents and included a new classroom and recreation room. At the same time, staff was increased from six to 14 and live-in house parents became childcare workers who worked a regular 40-hour schedule per week.
In 1977, the position of Detention Home Director was instituted in an effort to provide better on-site supervision. A year later, the functions of juvenile detention became part of the Department of Corrections.
Residents were moved to other sites twice in the history of the detention center. Once to accommodate renovations and the other to house female prisoners during construction of the new Lehigh County Jail.
In 1992, capacity and staff were again increased to accommodate growing population.
In 2005, staff was once again increased and a new state of the art detention center was built to house 48 residents to accommodate the growing population.