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Juvenile officials seek continued funding for liaison officer
Athens council asked to help with cost

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ATHENS — Juvenile authorities want the county to continue funding a court liaison officer for youth offenders, and they want the city to help with the cost.

Juvenile probation officer Robert Valls told the Limestone County Commission on Wednesday that he needs $17,000 to fund the juvenile court liaison, Monica Garcia, for the fiscal year. The Community Corrections program won't fund the liaison, he said.

Valls said the Athens City Council used to appropriate $10,000 for the program, then dropped its appropriation to $5,000 and now to nothing.

"And 62 percent of the kids we have are city kids," he said.

Commissioner Gary Daly said the city should help with funding. The commission will decide at its Wednesday meeting whether to approve Valls' $17,000 request.

Valls said he talked to Councilman Ronnie Marks, who said to bring the issue before the City Council.

The county gives $70,000 to mental health, $10,000 of which goes to pay Garcia to work one day a week. She works three days a week.

Valls said she conducts anger-management sessions with juveniles and makes referrals for counseling, mental health and medical needs.

Shannon Cameron, a supervisor with the Department of Human Resources, said Garcia also is available to assist in court and helps locate resources that are out of county.

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