Program closure widens gap for local teens
Those area kids you always hear about falling through the cracks will be faced with a larger chasm come May 1.
Colorado West Counseling Services ” which provides temporary detention for teens awaiting sentencing in criminal cases or transitioning back into society near the end of their sentences ” plans to close its residential youth counseling program due to a drop in state funding.
The current residents and future offenders who may have been candidates for the program will now be shipped to Grand Junction or the Front Range.
They will be moved farther away from home and the family support system offered by a detention service in the area.
It will also be more difficult for the 14- to 18-year-old kids to receive the personal attention available at the intimate 23-bed Colorado West facility.
Another valuable area program also takes a hit as YouthZone loses access to a temporary detention center for its diversion program.
It’s obviously not the ideal situation for the kids involved and it’s too bad we can’t house Garfield County’s problems closer to home. But there is little that could be done by anyone due to the budgetary nightmare in which Colorado finds itself.
These aren’t dire times for Colorado’s economy, but with TABOR and the school finance Amendment 23 on the books, very little wiggle room exists in the state budget for funding programs like Colorado West.
Many of the offenders who could have benefited greatly from the Colorado West program will still come home when their sentences are up.
It’s a shame they ever had to leave, and the community wasn’t allowed to be involved in ” hopefully ” helping them to transition into valuable members of society.
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