Posted by on June 7, 2017
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Categories: Bay Area

sonomaco

(BANT) – Sonoma County Supervisors Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution that stops the collection of fees from families for the care of their children in juvenile hall and probation camp.

A report from the county’s Probation Department and the Public Defender’s office cited research that minority youth are over-represented in the county’s juvenile justice system and most of the youth are from economically disadvantaged families that cannot afford to pay the fees.

Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa counties have eliminated fees charged to parents and San Francisco County never imposed the fees, according to the University of California at Berkeley’s Policy Advocacy Clinic.

In Sonoma County the total amount of juvenile fees that have not been paid by the families tops $4 million, and many delinquent accounts are a decade old and likely are un-collectable, according to the report by the county’s probation and public defender offices.

The county’s daily fee for youth housed in juvenile hall and at a 24-bed probation camp in Forestville for youth 16-18 is $32, according to the report. Families of youth placed on probation pay a flat $145 fee.

The county’s Public Defender’s office also can assess a $50 fee for a juvenile attorney’s services depending on the family’s ability to pay.

The California Welfare and Institutions Code allows the fees to recuperate reasonable costs from parents of children in juvenile halls or on probation and subjected to supervision, electronic monitoring and drug testing.

Senate Bill 190 would eliminate the fees charged to parents of children in the juvenile justice system. The bill has been referred to the Appropriations Committee.

The county’s resolution to cease collecting the fees takes effect July 1.