06/13/12 Irresponsible parents may be part of the cause for the dramatic increase in the numbers and cost of Marshall County juveniles being held in detention.

Monday morning members of the Marshall County Council were updated by Mary Jane Walsworth and James Pheibush from the Probation Department.  Pheibush said, “Fortunately it’s been many years, since 2007, since I have had to come and ask for an additional appropriation.”

The pair explained the number of juveniles currently being detained at Caring Bridge Reception and Detention Center in Muncie as 7.  The county, just this year changed from the Porter County Juvenile Detention Center at $110 a day to Caring Bridge at $89 daily which also includes all transportation and psychological evaluations.

So far this year they have spend $67,000 out of their $95,000 appropriation with an additional invoice of $20,000 to be submitted for May.  James said, “If we stay at the current numbers, we are on track to set an all time record since 1995.

Walsworth said, “We have no explanation for why the numbers were so low incredibly low last year and incredibly high this year.”

Pheibush spoke about the differences he has seen in youth since 2000.  He said, “Kids commit the same crimes as adults.  The difference I’ve seen is that children are increasingly more disturbed in a system unable to handle them.”  Kids have been diagnosed with ADHD, major depressions and even bi-polar.  He has seen kids come through the department for attempted murder, child molesting, arson and battery.

Pheibush said, “Part of our problem, and I’m sure you see it, is that parents are terribly irresponsible, some of them.  He then discussed a juvenile who was on probation and when they did a home visit the youth tested positive for alcohol, not surprisingly he was drinking with a parent when probation officers came to visit.

The Marshall County Probation Department was thinking they will need $120,000 to finish out the year but said they would be willing to seek an additional appropriation of $60,000 during the July meeting of the County Council and then if their numbers stay up they will come back in the fall to seek additional funds.