Covering Louisiana

Apr 20, 2014 11:46 PM by AP

State cuts limit services for Caddo juveniles

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - Caddo Parish authorities say state cuts left a $2.9 million hole in the juvenile justice system. Director of Juvenile Services Clay Walker tells The Times that the parish transferred $3.1 million from its Criminal Justice Fund to plug the hole. But he says there's too little money to grow or adapt.

He says some cuts affect intervention and counseling programs for at-risk youth. He says the state also eliminated a grant that paid for the parish's Mental Health Assessment Center. Instead, it contracted with a private company to manage behavioral health care services for at-risk youth and adults on Medicaid.

Walker says that company is good for the state as a whole - but eliminated parish staffers trained to assess youth for underlying mental illnesses or substance abuse.

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