Budget Cuts Force Rogers County Youth Shelter To Close

Wednesday, December 8th 2010, 5:17 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley and Terry Hood, News On 6

ROGERS COUNTY, Oklahoma -- A program to help troubled kids in Rogers County is one week from closing. The Youth Services Emergency Shelter is out of money. Counselors are worried that children will feel the fallout if the shelter closes.

The Rogers County Youth Services emergency shelter is a haven for children who have no place to go when their lives get turned upside down.

"We are a gap between the foster care system and the juvenile system," said Board Member Angie Graves.

Last year 98 kids, from 8 to18, were helped at the shelter. They go there for a variety of reasons: some are victims of abuse; some are in the custody of law enforcement, and some are here because their parents had been arrested and they had no other place to go.

"It's more than just feeding and housing kids, it's a relationship that we've formed with these kids," said Julie DeVore, a direct care staff member.

The shelter is counting down to December 15th. That's the day it will close unless it finds $45,000.

"We need all the help we can get from whatever source," Graves said.

The hole comes after the county cut the shelter's budget this year by $53,000 and it lost another $10,000 from the United Way.

"It's very sad that this shelter has been here for 30 years, and the numbers of the children that have been helped in this facility - and it will be no more unless we get the funding," said Angie Graves, a Rogers County Youth Services shelter board member.

The $45,000 is only the beginning. That amount would only keep the shelter open to the end of the fiscal year in June. The shelter would need another $78,000 for the next fiscal year.

The counselors are worried about what happens to the kids if it's forced to close.

"It's more than a job to me, it's what I pour my heart into," said Staff Member Julie DeVore. "It's the kids."

The shelter also takes care of children from other counties, including Ottawa County where a similar shelter in Miami also recently closed.