C.I.T.Y program facing tough times

Montgomery, Ala. (WSFA) --  It's called the C.I.T.Y program and it's life expectancy is in jeopardy.

Despite the good it's done it may be the latest victim of a bad economy.

For many troubled youth it's their last chance before incarceration in a juvenile facility.

For the last 20 years, Eric Guttensohn has worked to help kids turn their lives around.

"There is a personal satisfaction in knowing you've helped someone," says Guttensohn

Guttensohn heads the C.I.T.Y program for at-risk youngsters from the juvenile court system.

"We work with kids to re mediate them socially and academically we have a counseling component and a learning component," explains Guttensohn.

However the C.I.T.Y is in a precarious position, state funding cuts could force them to close their doors for good.

C.I.T.Y is gets its money from the post secondary education budget, it takes $2 million to keep the city programs running across the state.

"I hope they don't close it," said Ben Burrell a recent graduate of the program.

Burrell is one of 70 teenagers in the program yearly.

"I was kind going through a bad spot and because of it it taught me a lot and it helped me get my GED," explained Burrell.

"We're looking at total program closes maybe within the next four or five months," says Guttensohn.

Guttensohn says this programs saves the community money.  He says it cost about $50 per child per day in the city program.

That's about a third less than what it would cost to lock them up.

As well, officials say for every month a child is in the city program they catchup six months academically.

Reporter: Daniel Curtis