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July 9, 2014

Youth services director mounts letter campaign

DUNCAN — The Community Intervention Center in Duncan is encouraging the public to write letters to the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs until Friday asking for more funding for the center.

The office of juvenile affairs offered $53,200 to fund general operation of the center after providing $179,676 last year, Youth Services for Stephens County Executive Director John Herdt said.

Those who wish to write letters in support of more funding for the center can email them to Youth Services for Stephens County by  emailing letters to ythsvc@sbcglobal.net or taking them to the center at 16 S. 7th Street in Duncan, Herdt said.

Herdt said the center will be forced to lay off all four of their full-time employees and all but one part-time employee, while some may stay on call, unless they get more funding.

The layoffs will occur in August unless the center receives more funding before the end of the month, but he is continuing to fight for more funding, he said.

Police will also be forced to “babysit” juveniles picked up for crimes without the extra help for the center.

Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford said the center provides a place to take the juveniles, and provides referrals to courts, assessments and counseling services for the children.

Ford said there will be fewer officers on the streets if some are forced to take over duties formerly performed by intervention center employees.

Herdt said the center doesn’t see many repeat offenders because of the services they provide even though there has been a 400 percent increase in felony arrests processed at the center between 2009 and 2013.

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