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Association lauds Prairie Lakes Youth Programs of Willmar, Minn.

WILLMAR — The Minnesota Association of County Probation Officers presented the Excellence in Corrections Award to Prairie Lakes Youth Programs of Willmar at the annual spring conference May 22.

Darin Balken, executive director of Prairie Lakes Youth Programs, accepted the award on behalf of Prairie Lakes.

The award recognizes a corrections program that has demonstrated outstanding leadership and development in the field of probation. Prairie Lakes works with 42 counties in Minnesota, providing a wide variety of correctional services including group homes, detention, and secure and non-secure settings.

Prairie Lakes opened in 1991 and had its first of many expansions in 1997. It is owned by Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Swift, and Yellow Medicine counties. The program is licensed for 86 beds and now has 77 full- and part-time employees that have provided services to 9,890 juvenile offenders since opening.

The facility is committed to improving the lives of children. They have many programming options such as special education services, transitional counseling, CD treatment, community volunteering, cogs, individual and group counseling.