SALT LAKE CITY -- Because of budget cuts, Weber County juveniles on the wrong side of the law may find themselves housed in facilities in Davis and Salt Lake counties.
Officials said legislators failed to approve adequate funding for juvenile justice centers, which could mean the closure of a number of facilities and cutbacks to services at other facilities, such as Ogden Youth Services & Receiving and the Weber Valley Detention Center in Roy.
Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, said he learned early Thursday there was inadequate funding for the facilities in House Bill 3, sponsored by Rep. Mel Brown, R-Coalville, and Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan.
The lack of funds meant Weber Valley Detention Center would have had to close by June 30 and at least eight youth services and receiving centers across the state would have faced closure.
It also meant reduced hours of operations for facilities like the Ogden and Farmington youth service and receiving centers.
"I started emailing people right away (Thursday morning), letting them know we need to come up with the money somehow," Perry said.
Late Thursday night, the bill was approved with amendments that added funding for Juvenile Justice Services.
Liz Sollis, spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services, said officials are uncertain exactly what the impact will be but do expect to see services cut for juveniles in crisis.
The facilities across the state help about 4,500 juveniles each year, she said.
The Weber Valley center received $750,000, half of what was requested.
Sollis said officials are considering options such as having the center open full time for six months or open part time for a year. The lockdown facility provides short-term control of juveniles who may pose a risk.
If law enforcement officials cannot take a juvenile to the Roy center, they may have to transport the juvenile to Farmington Bay Youth Center, Sollis said.
About 50 percent of the time, that center is at capacity. When that occurs, law enforcement officials have to transport the juvenile to the Salt Lake Valley Detention Center.
Two years ago, the Brigham City Youth Services & Receiving Center was closed, Perry said. Now when law enforcement officials arrest a juvenile for a misdemeanor like vandalism or pick up a runaway juvenile and are unable to locate a parent or guardian, they have to take the juvenile to the Logan Youth Services & Receiving Center.
The Division of Juvenile Justice Centers had requested $2.5 million to keep facilities like Ogden Youth Services & Receiving operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The receiving centers take juveniles who have been arrested for a minor offense, have run away or are truant. The teenagers are kept at the center until their parents or guardians are located.
Legislators approved $750,000, but those funds are earmarked to keep the Blanding and Cedar City youth services open.
Ogden's and Farmington's centers, like six others across the state, may have to reduce hours of operation in order to meet their budgets, Sollis said.
Also several other centers may have to close their doors because of the lack of funds.
Perry said if centers are not open, law enforcement officers either have to let the juvenile go or drive around with the juvenile until parents/guardians can be located.