Committee supports Tahoe juvenile facility |

Committee supports Tahoe juvenile facility

There is good news and bad news in El Dorado County’s quest to secure state grant funding for new juvenile facilities in South Lake Tahoe and Placerville.

The good news involves South Lake Tahoe, as a California State Board of Corrections Steering Committee has recommended that a $750,000 challenge grant proposal for a day-use facility in South Shore be approved.

Meanwhile, a separate steering committee has recommended that an $8.15 million grant proposal to fund the construction of a new Juvenile Hall in Placerville be denied.

The Steering Committees’ recommendations now go before the State Board of Corrections for formal approval on May 20.

“The Board of Corrections usually follows the recommendation of the steering committee,” said El Dorado County Deputy Chief Probation Officer Barney Scholl. “So the (Placerville) Juvenile Hall grant proposal is pretty much over with for this year. We can start again next year with a new proposal.”

But South Tahoe’s challenge grant appears to be a go – the $750,000 grant including a $455,000 matching fund proposal from the county, bringing the total new funding to $1.2 million. The funds would be used to create a juvenile day-use school and counseling facility, at a site in South Shore to be determined.

“That’s a happy note, because such a facility is really needed,” said Judge Suzanne Kingsbury, who was among a contingent of officials from South Lake Tahoe who lobbied the State Board of Corrections for the grant money on April 12.

“The idea is to hopefully get these kids into a space where they won’t reoffend.”

The new South Lake Tahoe facility would provide eight hours of supervision per day – including five hours of school – for as many as 25 young offenders. Programs at the facility would include family counseling, drug programs, mentoring programs and after-care counseling.

And it would prevent the necessity for some of Tahoe’s youthful offenders to be transported to Juvenile Hall in Placerville – which is expensive, time-consuming and difficult during inclement weather.

“The new facility would allow us to provide all of our juvenile services in the same location,” Kingsbury said. “In other words, juveniles could attend court, participate in treatment programs and go to school all in the same place.

“The grant requires that we demonstrate results,” Kingsbury said. “And I think that we will.”

As far as the larger grant for Placerville was concerned, Scholl said that El Dorado County’s needs were “high up on the list” for consideration, but that the state just ran out of money.

“There were 15 applicants (counties) for state grant money, and the state ranked those applicants in terms of need,” Scholl said. “We were ranked fifth. But they ran out of money just before they got to us.”

The Placerville facility currently has 40 beds, and typically has as many as 49 or 50 juveniles on hand on any given day. Projections call for a need of at least 70 beds in the county by 2005.

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