Members of the Lee County Juvenile Justice Council gathered Monday to thank lawmakers for securing money this past legislative session…and to encourage them to try to do it again next year.
Four of the five budget requests submitted by the Lee County Juvenile Justice Council received state funding this year. Programs designed to keep juvenile offenders out of prison, like ‘Mental Health & Family Counseling Services’, and ‘Domestic Violence Diversion’ will share nearly 700-thousand-dollars. Governor Jeb Bush vetoed one project: an Outpatient Substance Abuse Diversion program.
Cape Coral Republican State Representative Jeff Kottkamp says between the state’s budget surplus, and the right people on the right committee…the stars aligned this legislative session.
“Sometimes it takes a while for our members to build up the seniority to get in those positions and this year was the year that it all came together. We had Senator Aronberg sat on the conference committee with me…I co-chaired the conference committee…so we were there until the bitter end to make sure that these funding priorities stayed in the budget.”
Kottkamp says it’s rewarding to know the work they do in Tallahassee makes a difference back home. The 700-thousand-dollars Lee County is getting this year for these programs will once again need to be renewed next year.
The Lee County Juvenile Justice Council recognized local lawmakers Monday for their efforts during this past legislative session. Republican State Representatives Jeff Kottkamp and Trudi Williams – and Democratic State Senator Dave Aronberg – cobbled together nearly 700-thousand-dollars for services intended to keep area youth out of prison. The Juvenile Justice Council received money for 4 programs this year…and it would’ve 5 if Governor Jeb Bush hadn’t vetoed a Substance Abuse Diversion program. Circuit Judge Sherra Winesett was until recently the county’s only juvenile judge for delinquency. She says Southwest Florida needed more money…and got it.
“We gathered data and presented that to our legislators and our proposals for these programs and they agreed with us that we were underfunded – and they worked very hard to bring us the funding.”
The juvenile offenders programs funded this year include Mental Health & Family Counseling – Domestic Violence Diversion – and Trauma Counseling.
Winesett says these programs all work to get families AND community service providers directly involved in the lives of juvenile offenders. She says while this funding outlook is great, it’s already time to start looking ahead to next year.
Tuesday, 22 August 2006 01:00
Juvenile Justice councilWritten by WGCU Newsroom