Viewpoint: March 7, 2012

The Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice wants to cut funding for a program that deals with about 900 troubled young people a year. It's a day treatment program run by AMI Kids where participants are sent after being expelled or committing a crime.

Typically, someone spends six to eight months at AMI continuing their school work, getting counseling and guidance and, when needed, mental health treatment. The cost to taxpayers is significantly less than putting these young people in jail and, even more important, about 85 percent of those in the program stay crime free.

The Office of Juvenile Justice says operators of the program should look to other sources for funding. But, without the state funds, the program may come to an end.

We strongly urge the Office of Juvenile Justice to reconsider its decision.