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AMIKids Crossroads is a private non-profit agency which contracts with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. AMIKids Crossroads has proven to be phenomenally successful and we are proud to have it in Charlotte County.
Nationally, according to The Annie E. Casey foundation, within three years of release around 75% of youth are rearrested and 45%-72% are convicted of a new offense. Our AMIKids Crossroads facility bucks this trend with over 80% of graduates not re-entering the system. That is better than the inverse of the national average. There is no way to understate the significance of this.
The AMIKids Crossroads facility has delivered these results at a cost lower than state run facilities. I can understand why our state assembly has directed the Department of Juvenile Justice to cut public programs over private ones.
When I recently learned the state is not going to be renewing the contract with AMIKids Crossroads I felt compelled to action. This is an under-handed way to cut the private sector. AMIKids Crossroads has performed better than their public counterpart in every way. There is no good reason to terminate a facility which has proven cost effective and produced such amazing results.
AMIKids Crossroads has been a valued part of our community. Their kids have completed over 20,000 hours of community service in Charlotte County since inception. We recognize the value of AMIKids Crossroads. One of their graduates, Mr. Phillip Roman, recently earned a degree in Airport Management from Embry Riddle University. This was possible with scholarships and help from our Board and fund raising efforts in the community.
Given more time I could share many more examples of how we’ve embraces this gem in our county. Sadly, I don’t have time because without your help AMIKids Crossroads will cease to exist by the end of June. They will start relocating youths within weeks.
I ask you to please do everything to get this decision reversed. Compel the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to renew the contract with AMIKids Crossroads. Do it for our state, do it for our community, but most important, do it for the youths who get reformed and mended at AMIKids Crossroads every day.
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