Otter Tail County to charge some parents thousands of dollars for juvenile treatment

The measure takes effect July 1.

Parents of kids in juvenile detention or in treatment will be responsible for up to thousands of dollars a month under a policy passed June 22 by the Otter Tail County Commission.

The fees charged to parents for housing their minor children in juvenile detention would be the lowest, with the fees waived for those earning $17,500 or less, and the maximum monthly out-of-pocket cost at $75 per day for families earning $71,501 or higher, depending on family size. OTC contracts with the Clay County Juvenile Detention Center in Moorhead.

However, the fees shoot up for Otter Tail County minor children being removed from their home for treatment facilities such as the Lake Boys Home, Heartland Girls Ranch, Mille Lacs Academy, or Gerard Academy. Otter Tail County will charge parents up to 30% of their daily cost, which range from $200 to $300.

That means that parents with a family size of 1-2 members that make $35,501 - $44,500 would start paying $10-$15 a day, or $300-$450 a month, ranging up to $60-$90 a day, or $1,800 to $2,700 a month for parents with a family size of 1-2 members earning $80,501 or higher.

The average length of stay in these facilities often range between 1-6 months, according to Michael Schommer, Otter Tail County probation director.


Schommer said parents had not paid fees since 2017.

If the county had collected fees in 2018, it would have brought in $75,000, he told commissioners. It would not apply to families with minor children now in out-of-home placement.

Commissioner Kurt Mortenson said he felt the fees would encourage parents to become more involved.

"In my opinion, the amounts are very reasonable and appropriate,“ he said.

The measure passed unanimously.

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