Contracts for juvenile law get nod

Facilities’ costs exceed more than $1,000 per day

JOHNSTOWN — Two contracts related to the Raise the Age law were approved May 13 by the Fulton County Board of Supervisors.

The board approved authorization to use the Children’s Home of Wyoming Conference in Binghamton for county Department of Social Services’ Raise the Age placements for “specialized treatment, education and recreational” services. Total daily costs are $1,043.

Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery called the daily rates a “ridiculous price.” He decried the closing nearly 10 years ago of the state’s former Tryon Detention Facility in the town of Perth.

“Just think if we had that great Tryon park back,” Callery said.

Supervisors also approved authorization to enter into a contract for DSS Raise the Age placements for similar services with the Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch in Riverhead on Long Island. That facility’s approved daily rate is $1,109.

Gloversville 1st Ward Supervisor Marie Born said Fulton County has had only one actual Raise the Age placement lasting 19 days.

“The state has said they’ll reimburse us and we’ve yet to see any money from that first case,” said Born, chairwoman of the board’s Human Services Committee.

Fulton County has a state-approved Raise the Age plan involving DSS, Probation Department, District Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Department. The state last year promised 100 percent reimbursement of the new law’s costs through the state and federal governments.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on April 10, 2017 signed legislation raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York state from 16 to 18 years old. Young people aged 16 and 17 will no longer be permitted to be housed in adult facilities or jails. The law went into effect for 16-year-olds last October.

The Raise the Age legislation requires all but the most serious 16-year-old criminal offenders to be diverted to county Family Court, and handled consistent with juvenile delinquent statutes. On Oct. 1, 2019, 17-year-old offenders will be diverted. Those 16- or 17-year-olds impacted and charged with a non-violent felony or a misdemeanor will be considered an “adolescent offender” and be completely protected from the adult incarceration population.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.