Review completed of state Youth Services residential units | Arkansas Blog

Review completed of state Youth Services residential units

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The state released today an independent review of residential centers for youths referred by courts. A news release from the Division of Youth Services characterized the report as having said the state had made significant strides but still had more work to do.

Here's the full report.

The state operates eight residential centers. Strengths reportedly found included an end to abusive practices used in some states and the operation of more "home-like" centers that seem less like prisons.

From the release:

Challenges identified that prevent the State from having a truly effective and model residential program include:

- Contract performance measures that focus more on process than on youth outcomes,

- Preventable delays and system inefficiencies that cause youth to spend much longer in residential treatment,

- Long-standing problems with facility conditions and treatment of youth in certain facilities, and

- Inadequate oversight, monitoring, and support of DYS-operated and contracted facilities.

The Center concluded its review with 25 recommendations for actions the State could take in 12-24 months and two to five years. Some of the recommendations the State is working toward include:

- Assessing investing in a smaller number of facilities that hold the greatest potential to achieve meaningful rehabilitation,

- Eliminating delays in placement process,

- Structuring future procurements for staff-secure facilities to capitalize on available federal funding and ensure they include outcome-based performance measures,

- Establish standards on length of stay in residential treatment centers,

- Devoting additional resources and technical assistance to monitoring and oversight of facilities, and

- Making needed upgrades so that living environments are more conducive to rehabilitation and treatment.




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