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Fighting the Good Fight 
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Re: “Why Arkansas lags in juvenile justice: Money

The article by Dick Mendel horribly and wrongfully depicts Youth Service Providers (YSP.) The YSPs, who are non profits, provide a critical role in providing prevention and intervention services to our community's high risk children. They provide free and reduced services for mental health and substance abuse counseling; they provide residential and outpatient treatment services. They provide crisis shelters for homeless children and emergency foster care. YSPs work in partnership with Division of Youth Services, Dept of Children and Family Services, schools, juvenile courts, and other community partners. YSPs employ licensed therapists, drug counselors, and other certified personnel who are dedicated to serving children and families. The funding for YSPs have not increased in over a decade, and they are asked to do more for less. At the same time funding from the State that was directed to REDUCE commitments to long-term incarceration has been cut. All the while, Arkansas ranks in top 10 in incarcerating children. A child in long term incarceration costs the state about $100K per year. One of the goals of YSPs is to keep kids in their respective communities. Also, the State's primary juvenile prisons just hired another for-profit entity to run it for more money than the previous company.

The State is shifting funds away from children's services as depicted in the 15-20% cut in Medicaid mental health services. This will negatively impact schools who will have increases in children placed in costly Special Education and 504 programs, increase in suspensions and expulsions, and more children receiving inadequate mental health treatment. Also, there will be an increase in children flooding the juvenile court system. YSP need to be utilized and funded more to prevent these things from happening; they do not need to be vilified. If Arkansas citizens believe there needs to be more programs for our at-risk children by community service providers, they NEED to call the Governor and their legislators.

Paul Kelly, the key interviewee in the Marshall Report written by Dick Mendel sent an immediate apology for his negative words about YSPs.

To put YSPs in the same article with Ted Suhl is a cheap shot. Suhl is a convicted felon who sought to serve himself.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Fighting the Good Fight on 08/10/2016 at 8:15 AM

 

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