Letter from Mishi Faruqee, director of the Juvenile Justice Project at the Correctional Association of New York:
I am writing to update you on the Governor’s Executive Budget that was released yesterday. As you know, New York State is facing a $4.5 budget deficit, and the Governor has charged state agencies with making massive cuts in their spending.
The good news is that the Executive Budget maintains funding for summer youth employment, after-school programs, universal pre-kindergarten and child care. The budget also proposes a $153.7 million increase in state reimbursements for preventive services that help avert placement of children in foster care and juvenile detention facilities.
In a bold and controversial move, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) has decided to make most of its cuts in spending on youth jails and prisons. Currently, OCFS reimburses counties 50% of running local detention centers for pre-adjudicated youth. The Executive budget proposes eliminating the state reimbursement for local pre-trial detention centers. If the Legislature approves this proposal, the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and other local detention agencies will have to fully cover the costs of pre-trial detention starting April 1, 2008. This proposal will save the state $35.4 million in 2008-2009 and $59.2 million in 2009-2010. The Executive Budget also includes $14 million in funding for alternatives to pre-trial detention. OCFS is still determining how it will allocate this $14 million to the counties and New York City.
In addition, as I described in an earlier email, OCFS has proposed closing six of its placement facilities. This proposal has received significant opposition from the OCFS employees’ union and from upstate legislators who represent the districts where the facilities are located. We will soon be distributing a sign-on letter to organizations in the Juvenile Justice Coalition expressing support for the proposed facility closures.
Please look out for this letter which I urge every member of the coalition to sign on.
In the meantime, if you would like more information on the OCFS proposed budget, please check out this link:
Thanks for your support.