Juvenile center looks to separate from state

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) — As the Lafourche Parish Juvenile Justice Facility approaches its 30th anniversary, it’s faced with a daunting challenge.

Receiving less money from the state, the center, located in Thibodaux, is considering localizing its services and asking taxpayers for more money.

The center provides emergency shelter, secure detention and a group home for children who are homeless, abused or have psychological disorders.

As a criminal detention center and treatment facility, director Bob Licalzi tells The Courier (http://bit.ly/1ipTx9R ) the juvenile center has lost half its state revenue because it doesn’t fit any of the models that Magellan — the private insurance company the state has partnered with — has envisioned.

Magellan officials told Licalzi the center doesn’t provide enough intense medical services as required under the state’s 2010 consolidation of such programs. The facility, which accepts children from around the state, would have to hire a psychiatrist or dentist, which it can’t afford, Licalzi said.

To become a Lafourche-only child residential center, Licalzi estimates it would need a 5-6 mill property tax increase. A mill is $1 in tax levied on every $1,000 of taxable property. That money would help provide outpatient services throughout the rest of the parish and expand the facility’s services.

“The only way we can get the community on our side is by demonstrating that we are an invaluable service and one that is worthy of that kind of political consideration,” he said.

More importantly, it would make the center independent from the state.

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Information from: The Courier, http://www.houmatoday.com

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