Ric Oddone admits he's a little envious when he hears of a large corporation donating millions of dollars to build an arena, theater or other entertainment venue. A tiny portion of that money would "have real impact on lives" if it were channeled into the juvenile justice system.
If programs in that overburdened system are to make a difference, they must have money. The public sector's about tapped out, but private industry could reach through "a window of opportunity" and pull things together, said Oddone, chief deputy county attorney in Salt Lake's Juvenile and Family Court Division.There are too many needs, too many programs and not enough money," he said, adding that government never was "all things to all people and it's less so today. . . . I think it's very appropriate for businesses to take part of their funds and channel them into programs for children."
Any fund-raising effort in the private sector needs to be coordinated so businesses won't be overwhelmed by requests and programs won't duplicate services, according to LaMar Eyre, director of Salt Lake County Youth Services. The discussion was part of a juvenile justice workshop Monday at the 1992 Child Advocacy Conference, sponsored by Utah Children.
The Salt Lake County Youth Services Center saw 4,408 runaways and "ungovernable" youths last year - a significant increase over the years, said director Pat Berckman - and typical in programs that serve youths. But lack of funding has kept her staff from expanding. Youths involved in crimes like shoplifting have to wait six to eight weeks to see an intake officer there.
"We could impact all of those families. But if you don't have enough funding you have to prioritize what you can and cannot do."
Youth Services Center is a diversionary program and does not deal with youths who are on probation or parole.
Not everyone agreed. Mary Carlson, Planned Parenthood, warned that asking the private sector for the money poses a "real danger. Government would like us to rely more on the private system because that gets it off the hook."
"Neither sector can do it all," Jayne Wolfe, Western Institute of Neuropsychiatry, said. "It's clear there's not enough public funding. These are, after all, all of our kids."
"The government is us. Actually, so is the private sector. We're all consumers of private industries that have money. It wouldn't hurt us to let companies know we appreciate it when they donate to programs," said Barbara Thompson, director of the Division of Family Services.
Advocates for children honored Douglas Horrocks Monday during a luncheon where he was given the 1992 Award for Outstanding Service to Children.
Horrocks, a deputy in the Duchesne County Sheriff's Office, was cited as someone who has "diligently worked on behalf of abused or neglected children, potential victims and their families" with emphasis on prevention and education.