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Foster/child care could cost County an extra $200K

Submitted by Phil Heimerl on February 21, 2019 – 12:44 amNo Comment
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The number of juveniles in foster care and institutional care is about to put a strain on Alpena County’s general fund budget for fiscal year 2019.

And, Juvenile Officer Janelle Mott is asking commissioners to increase funding for juvenile care in future budgets as well, as she doesn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Mott informed the county’s finance committee Wednesday, that her best estimate indicates she will need another $200,000 for juvenile care to make it through the end of her fiscal year on September 30.  She expects to run out of her yearly allocation as early as April 1.

Mott blames a big part of the problem on an increase in foster care costs.  She expects those costs to total close to $100,000 by the end of the year.  By comparison, only about $28,000 was spent on foster care in 2018, and a little more than $13,000 in 2017.

Mott noted that there are also six juveniles currently on probation who may need long-term out-of-home care in the future.  Most are facing serious charges, severe mental health issues and problems in their current living situations.  If those youth need to be placed in an institutional setting the costs will be exceedingly expensive.

The county spent approximately $187,000 on foster care and housing for troubled teens in 2015.  That amount went up to $194,000 in 2016, over $229,000 in 2017, and more than $314,000 in 2018.

The county receives only partial reimbursement for child care costs from the state and federal government.

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