Oklahoma juvenile agency prioritizes needs

BY JULIE BISBEE Modified: December 1, 2010 at 4:00 pm •  Published: January 23, 2010
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The executive director of the state Office of Juvenile Affairs said Friday budget cuts are dramatically changing how the agency works with troubled youth.

Gene Christian told members of the agency’s board of directors that budget cuts brought on by sagging state revenues are forcing the agency to prioritize its needs.

"We are making major changes to the organization,” Christian said. "We need a board decision on were the line is going to be drawn between prevention and secure detention. I can make a recommendation, but I need their help.”

Board members will meet in mid-February to decide what areas should be funded as the agency braces itself for additional budget cuts. Officials at all state agencies are waiting to see if a revised budget agreement will mean additional cuts or additional funds for their programs. The legislative session begins Feb. 1.

"We need the board to decide our priorities so we can work our way up the list when we have to cut something,” Christian said.