SAND SPRINGS — The Office of Juvenile Affairs will begin closing units at its maximum security facility, cutting the number of staff needed at the L.E. Rader Center.
Gene Christian, the agency’s executive director, met Tuesday with staff at the Rader Center in Sand Springs to inform employees of the changes. He said the number of juvenile offenders at Rader will shrink from 106 to 66 by July.
All state agencies are working with reduced funding while the state’s revenue collections are hard hit in the slumping economy. All agencies have seen their monthly allocations cut by 10 percent in December and January. The budget cuts are expected to continue into the next budget year, which begins in July.
To deal with the cuts to the agency, some cottages that house juvenile offenders at the Rader Center are being shuttered. The cottages are in need of repair, Christian said, and the department does not have enough money to make the repairs,. The Sand Springs facility will keep its maximum security beds and a unit that houses sex offenders at Rader. The rest of the juveniles will be sent to facilities in Manitou and Tecumseh.
That means less staff will be needed to care for youth at Rader. That includes employees who work directly with the juveniles, teachers and food service employees, he said.
The agency plans to cut staff initially by not filling vacant positions and cutting contracts between now and July. Agency employees could be offered a voluntary buyout plan before layoffs, if necessary, begin in July, Christian said.