CITY program to lose staffing, funding
In the past nine years, the Community Intensive Treatment for Youth Program has changed the lives of hundreds of Franklin County's at-risk youths.
Sixteen-year-old Daniel entered the CITY Program as an alternative to being sent away from his home as a result of problems.
Daniel, as with all of CITY's students, was referred by the juvenile court system, and their full names cannot be released.
"I was having a lot of problems with school," Daniel said. "So they sent me to the CITY program instead of being sent away."
The staff at the program and Daniel decided the best course of action for him was for Daniel to take his GED.
Daniel was actively in the program for six months, and today, he is enrolled in the welding program at Northwest-Shoals Community College.
Daniel said the CITY program saved his life and he is on the road to a good future.
"This is the best thing for me," Daniel said. "Now, I will be done with college by the time most people graduate high school."
CITY program director Ramona Roberson said there are many other students in the program with a story similar to Daniel's, and there will be many more to come. However, she has concerns about the program's effectiveness since the program will lose three staff members this fall.
"I was informed in August that we'd be eliminating three staff positions here at our program," Roberson said.
She said the program will lose two counselors and a reading coach effective this fall because of a shortage in the budget from the Educational Trust Fund.
"We knew we were going to have less to deal with this year, but we were supposed to be getting grants to cover the shortage. In August, I was informed that we did not have the money and that cutbacks were mandatory across the state," Roberson said.