Thursday, April 9, 2009

Major Battles: Institutions

The Senate proposal to close Yakima Valley School would result in traumatic disruption to 90 of the most vulnerable people in our society, eliminate respite services for over 100 families a year, eliminate hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity – all to save (optimistically) $2.5 million over the biennium. The proposed closure of YVS doesn’t appear to be motivated by cost savings. The Senate budget makes a bad situation worse with the inclusion of a proviso requiring DSHS to immediately prepare a plan to close the Francis Haddon Morgan Center [PSSB 5600 Sec. 205(2)(f)].

Both budgets would close a JRA institution even though studies have shown the evidence-based continuum of services provided by JRA to be very effective. The Senate proposes closing Green Hill School, which would completely dismantle the JRA institutional system -- and is unjustifiable on a cost-benefit basis. The House proposes combining the closure of Naselle Youth Camp with dramatic cuts in JRA’s enhanced parole services, which would cause permanent harm to our state’s transitional services for juvenile offenders. -- Dennis

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