Pubdate: Tue, 06 Mar 2001
Source: Blade, The (OH)
Copyright: 2001 The Blade
Contact:  541 North Superior St., Toledo OH 43660
Author: Jack Ford, House Minority Leader


The proposed closing of the state's Maumee Youth Center in Henry
County, a 120-bed drug treatment facility, for budgetary purposes is
pennywise and pound foolish. The center is one of only two substance
abuse treatment-specific facilities operated by the Ohio Department of
Youth Services. DYS has more than 2,000 youths incarcerated and 2,100
in community care.

The director of DYS argues that the Maumee Youth Center is no longer
in demand because under the philosophy of criminalizing delinquency,
most of the department's commitments are felon offenders who would not
fit in at a non-fenced, minimum-security facility. The director states
that the Reclaim Ohio program of the community division is enough to
meet the needs of substance-abusing youths. This is simply not true.

The director of DYS fails to account for the fact that 75 percent of
Ohio's DYS commitments self-report drug or alcohol abuse as a
precipitating factor leading up to or during the perpetration of the
offense. The director fails to account for the serious lack of
treatment beds available for substance-abusing youth offenders. The
director ignores the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent in
developing a trained work force at the Maumee Youth Center.

Finally, the director fails to recognize the upcoming huge demographic
shift where the state of Ohio will see hundreds of thousands of young
folks hit the age of 14. We will need a facility such as the Maumee
Youth Center even more than we do now.

Most addiction professionals agree that youth treatment beds have been
and remain a serious need in the addiction field. We should keep the
Maumee Youth Center open and place those youths who truly need this
type of setting. Closing this facility makes no sense and belies this
administration 's claim to being pro-treatment.


House Minority Leader
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake