Sunday, December 4, 2022

NCCPR in Youth Today: You don’t need a task force to tell you why institutionalized children run

Most of the time when industries want more money from government, they cite their success. It takes a special kind of chutzpah to make the case for more taxpayer money based on your own failure.

Yet that’s what the “residential treatment” industry has been doing in Colorado.  News accounts have documented a litany of failure, from abuse of institutionalized children to runaways dying.  Yet we are told the solution is to pump even more money into these places because they can’t scrape by on a mere $250 to $600 per-day per-child.  The industry says we also should make residential treatment more like jail, allowing locked doors and physical force against youth.  They’re also whining about the minimal standards institutions must meet under the federal Family First Act so states can get federal aid for stashing kids in such places. 

Similar themes have been sounded across the country, as news accounts bemoan children forced into makeshift placements – while almost never asking if all those children should have been taken away, or whether there are better options than institutions. (The answers are no and yes, respectively.)  But nowhere is the residential treatment industry as brazen as Colorado. ... 

Read the full column in Youth Today