Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New approach to JJ at New Beginnings

After years of advocacy and planning, the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) is opening its new youth detention/rehabilitation center, New Beginnings Youth Development Center, on May 29.   The grand opening will take place from 10:00 – 11:00 am at 8400 River Road in Laurel, MD.    Those who want to attend must RSVP to Sherry Deane at sherry[DOT]deane[AT]dc[DOT]gov.

DYRS director Vincent Schiraldi provided details about New Beginnings in his testimony on the mayor’s proposed FY 2010 budget.   Highlights are:

  • The new facility has a 60 bed capacity
  • locked treatment program for the city’s deepest end youth
  • Move DYRS toward compliance with Jerry M. class action lawsuit

The construction, costing $44,460,340, was on time, and on budget, according to the Committee on Human Services.   The committee also expressed some skepticism about DYRS’s plans in their draft FY 2010 mark-up report:

There is some concern that 60 beds may not be enough, given the increase in the number of new commitments in recent years. Of 740 committed youth during FY 2010, there will only be room for 60 at the new Oak Hill facility.   The remaining 680 youth will be placed in Residential Treatment Centers, Group Homes, with relatives (including back in their own homes) and in Independent Living settings.   The majority of the youth committed to DYRS for committing crimes in the District will be placed by the Agency in community–based settings, where the community itself will bear much of the responsibility for keeping these youth out of trouble, and getting them back on the right track.

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