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.