Butler County Juvenile Court loses funding; cuts programs and positions

By Tiffany Teasley – bio | email

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - The Butler County Juvenile Court is in a massive restructuring mode, laying off probation officers, clerks and other staff, after losing critical funding from the state.

"The truth to this whole budget situation is that we're struggling," said Robert Clevenger of the Butler County Juvenile Court.

They're struggling to fund the programs designed to keep juveniles out of justice system, towards better lives.

"We cut programs like multi systemic therapy, functional family therapy, in the past kids were placed on probation, now they would not be placed on probation," Clevenger said.

Clevenger says it's a two pronged problem -- increasing budget cuts to the Butler County general fund and most recently a nearly $ .5 million cut in state RECLAIM funds dedicated to community based programs for youth in the system.

"That means effective June 30th, we will be letting go an additional 10 positions," Clevenger said.

As of this July the Juvenile Justice Center will have lost 29 positions, 14 probation officers, 8 in the Juvenile Detention Center and $2.2 million in cuts to funding since 2009.

"It's terrible for the families that need that level of intensive service," said Jolynn Hurwitz of the Butler County Educational Service center.

As a result of the cuts, Hurwitz says this it the first year their multi-systemic therapy program for youth and families won't be held.

"It's heartbreaking to see those programs go away simply because we don't have the resources,"Hurwitz  said.

If commissioners move forward with proposed budget cuts next week, the Juvenile Court could lose and additional $144,000, Clevenger says the one positive factor keeping them afloat is a significant decrease in juvenile crime across the county.

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