House-Senate committee agree to 2012-13 funding
The Bay Pines Center in Escanaba will continue housing juvenile offenders and providing jobs in the region with state funding approved on Tuesday by the Legislature’s joint conference committee on the Department of Health Services budget.
The conference committee’s DHS budget recommendation reduces juvenile facility funding by $2 million but maintains operation of Bay Pines and two other facilities. Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, voted against an original version of the budget that eliminated funding for the facilities completely.
“Michigan can’t afford to lose the flexibility and service that having state-operated juvenile rehabilitation and correction programs at these facilities provides,” McBroom said. “The funding reduction will require more efficiency and fiscal responsibility, but that’s a good thing too as we strive to get the most out of every taxpayer dollar the government spends.”
The three facilities house the state’s more dangerous juvenile offenders and there was no guarantee that private programs would accept their cases or what extent they would be charged.
The budget language does prohibit DHS from increasing capacity in the state-operated facilities without allowing private facilities to bid on the additional services needed.
The conference committee also approved increased funding for foster families and private residential facilities, but overall reduced the DHS budget by $133 million, to $6.55 billion.
The budget recommendation from the committee now must be approved by the full House and Senate before it goes to the governor for final consideration.