I am a Buffalo resident and homeowner, and have three children. I understand the city is going through some tough fiscal times. But I was really upset when I heard that the Division for Youth and its Youth Court Program are not in this year's budget. This means there will be no more counseling services provided by the city for our children. When it comes to youth services, we must try to expand the quality of these programs and not just let them be axed out of the budget because it sounds good to certain people when they hear a department has been removed.
Not only do these drastic cuts directly affect children with mental illness and mental disabilities, but these vulnerable children often live in low-income families. There are no more vulnerable citizens facing such a disproportionate cut. Children put in crisis situations will result not only in costly crisis services, but also more mentally ill children in the juvenile corrections system and, later, jail. This terrible result costs Buffalo in both human and fiscal terms. Please call your Council member and urge him to help save our Youth Services.