Division of Youth Services, Long Way off From Reaching Its Goal

Herald Tribune, October 6, 1968

Tallahassee Florida AP

A select study committee reports that borders year old division of youth services has been overly patient
in meeting the basic needs of youngsters in the state's training schools.

In a report to Gov. Claude Kirk , the five-member committee also said the division should be more actively
centralize its control responsibilities and approve its program for staff personnel. Legislative or cabinet
action would be necessary to implement the changes, the committee said.

The division, created by the 1967 late to the legislature, is responsible for spearheading Florida's battle
against juvenile delinquency and supervising state programs for the real rehabilitation of delinquents.

The blue ribbon committee name by Kurt to review the division's progress reported it may take 10 years
for the new agency to reach its desired goal
.
While urging the division to be patient in its progress, the committee recommended immediate steps to
beef up programs aimed at meeting the needs of youths in training schools.

The leadership of the division is impatient with the slowness with which program changes are occurring
and, at the same time, appears to have been overly patient with some conditions such as the manner in
which the ward's basic needs are being met. And with the use of excessive punishment, the committee
said.

Division Dir. OJ Keller asked about the report, denied his agency had been overly patient. He said one of
his first orders abolished corporal punishment in training schools.

The committee said training schools need more tasteful, balanced meals, improved housing and clothing
facilities, and more activities for the schools towards. Ward's.

While a great deal can be done to more adequately meet basic needs without the expenditure of
additional funds, full adequacy will require additional personnel, facilities and materials the committee
report said
.
It called for shorter work hours for staff personnel. In addition to the working conditions, the most important
factor in the terror occurring to deterring the employment of capable staffs is the inadequate salary
structure, the committee said.

The committee believes that the authority of the division of youth services us be strengthened up before
any great progress can be made in improving its functioning. If it is to manage effectively, the division must
be given the necessary tools. Unfortunately, these changes cannot be affected readily as some will
require legislative action, the report said.

The committee said the director lacks sufficient authority in personnel management and cannot administer
a single, consolidated budget because of the present statutory structure. In addition to insufficient
authority, the director cannot exercise effective control because of the lack of central office staff capability.