Editor's Note: This was originally sent to State Rep. Ed McBroom.
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I am writing in support of keeping Bay Pines Center open. Bay Pines Center was built at the request of people in our district. We do not want U.P. children with behavioral problems to be sent to institutions downstate where they just pick up the delinquent behaviors that they learn there.
Of the three state training schools, Bay Pines Center is the least expensive and most efficient. It provides detention services for all the counties in the U.P. as well as behavioral based residential treatment programs for youth ages 12 to 20. It is the only state residential treatment center for female youth requiring secure care.
The children in Bay Pines Center support a number of non-profit services in the community as part of their treatment. They set up and take down Red Cross blood drives, clean up a section of US 2, work with the DNR and U.S. Forest Service, clean up the fairgrounds, work on the walleye tournament, help on Habitat for Humanity projects and many other community functions.
There is already legislation place that requires the Department of Human Services to place delinquent youth requiring residential services in private facilities. The only youth placed at Bay Pines Center for residential treatment are those who cannot be handled by private training schools or have been directly ordered there by judges. Many of the youth there have already been in the private facilities and were not successful or were transferred to Bay Pines Center at the request of the private vendor.
There are 44 people from your district that work at Bay Pines Center. Those jobs and the needs of the institution help support the community. Closing Bay Pines Center will not save the taxpayers the cost of that operation. The children that are placed there are mostly felony offenders with severe behavioral problems. They will have to be placed in other facilities that are licensed for secure care. The only private agencies that take these girls are in southeast Michigan. Closing Bay Pines Center will just send those jobs down there.
We expect you to keep and create jobs in the U.P. We want children from the U.P. with behavioral problems that require secure residential treatment treated in the U.P. - not in Flint or Detroit.
Vote no on HB 5374. Keep the services; keep the jobs in the U.P.