By CHRIS EVERSOLE
The Canadian County Commissioners voted Monday to approve the 2020 fiscal year budget for the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center.
The $9.103 million budget is essentially unchanged from this year, Director Daniel Kern said.
Commissioner Marc Hader applauded the budget.
“We try to be as lean and mean as possible,” Kern said.
The only difference from this year’s budget is that the new budget reflects a $75,000 increase for a referee to serve as a hearing officer for juvenile criminal cases and an administrative assistant for the position.
The commission approved the spending for the referee position midyear, and it is reflected in the new budget.
The justice center serves youths from ones who need temporary counseling to those who have committed serious crimes, Kern said.
The justice center’s primary funding source is a dedicated .35 percent county sales tax.
It also receives about $800,000 annually through contracts with state agencies and other counties.
The center’s programs include:
• A 28-bed detention center
• A 12-bed adolescent substance-abuse treatment center
• Outpatient mental health and substance abuse counseling
The center also operates an alternative high school educational program. The program, which is available to students from throughout the county, is operated by El Reno Public Schools.
In addition, the center conducts drug screenings at the request of parents.
“It’s a great service for parents who suspect their children may have a problem,” Kern said.
Kern, who has been on the job for five months, said he is pleased with the services the center provides.
“We have a good staff with great education and experience,” he said. “They have strong Okie pride and commitment.”