Families, law enforcement and juvenile experts are already feeling legislators’ $3.2M budget reduction and fear Utah will eventually pay a much greater price. Check out the full story in the SLC Trib: Budget ax falls on Utah’s juvenile justice system! By Janelle Stecklein | The Salt Lake Tribune
“It’s really wonderful when you’re in a crisis to turn your child over to someone who will make a difference. They should have [programs like] that all over the country. They help children with their emotions that they don’t know how to deal with.”
The cuts, by the numbers
1 Davis County Youth Services closed
16 Number of beds at Weber Valley Detention Center (reduced from 34).
When it closes March 1, an additional 23 jobs will be eliminated.
$350,000 Cut to Genesis Youth Center in Salt Lake County
What do these facilities do?
Youth service centers » Divert youths from the juvenile justice system. Provide immediate intervention by engaging and motivating youths and families to access resources and resolve conflict. The following services are available at most youth service facilities: crisis counseling; individual and family therapy; group therapy; education groups and support for parents and youths; referral to community agencies; assessment; and short-term voluntary residential placements.
Receiving centers » Provide a location for local law enforcement to take youths after arrest for status offenses or delinquent acts that do not meet Detention Admission Guidelines. Receiving center staff members work to find parents or guardians, evaluate the youth’s immediate needs and refer them for services.
Detention centers » Short-term locked confinement for delinquent youths awaiting adjudication, placement or serving a sentence as ordered by a juvenile court judge.
“We, as a system, are operating in a crisis mode. That’s the scary thing,” said Jill McKinlay, a Utah juvenile-justice program administrator who oversees the ICYC.
And… Legislators managed to slap together some last-minute funding to keep most of the facilities operational, albeit on a limited basis through the start of 2013, but in many rural regions the cuts have left gaping holes.
“It’s disheartening and tragic in so very many ways,” said Gov. Gary Herbert’s spokeswoman Ally Isom of the cuts. “We’d like to see it addressed in future budgets because if we don’t assist many of these youth in their present situation, they often end up in the adult system and incur further social costs and greater family tragedy.”
Please check out the full story in the SLC Trib: Budget ax falls on Utah’s juvenile justice system
Here is another great blog post, from YouthToday.org: Eight Ways to Improve the Juvenile Justice Programs
and… a good governmental reference website: www.UtCourts.gov
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