Juvenile Probation Office Cuts

State agencies in Alabama are starting to feel the crunch following the defeat of Gov. Bob Riley's tax reform plan.

A shortage of revenue is forcing huge cutbacks in personnel, and services are also likely to be affected.

Houston County's at-risk children could be among the hardest hit.

The Juvenile Probation Office in Houston County will have to lay-off three case workers and its entire four-member support staff because of budget cuts.

Actually, four of the nine juvenile probation officers had to be cut, but one worker recently retired and will not be replaced.

The juvenile probation office handles everything from behavioral problems, involving runaway children to hard-core offenders such as teenage capital murder suspects.

Director Angela Underwood says the cutbacks will be devastating.

Underwood says the cutbacks will force her staff to concentrate the majority of their efforts on the most serious cases while kids with behavioral problems don't get the attention they need and could turn into hard-core criminals.

Underwood says she will decide who gets the axe based on seniority. She says she's been told to finalize the cuts in her office by the end of next month.