Connecticut Junior Republic Announces Plans to Close Residential Program in Litchfield

In Current Events, Institutional Child Abuse, programs on February 6, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Read the interesting press release from the  Junior Republic Residential Program. It details interesting reasons they plan to close the program in Connecticut.   Click on this link to read the press realease. ct-junior-republic1

See News Article on the Closure  HERE. Or read the text below

Center For At-Risk Boys To Close Doors

Money, Violence Among Reason For Closing, Documents Say

POSTED: 4:10 pm EST February 5, 2009
UPDATED: 7:25 pm EST February 5, 2009

The Connecticut Junior Republic, which treats at-risk teenage boys, announced last week that it will close its Litchfield campus, costing over 100 people their jobs.

CJR representatives said one of the main reasons is fewer troubled boys are being treated in programs where they live at a facility.

With the development of more community-based and in-home services in the last few years, the population of youths who are being referred to residential programs has changed, said Gary Kleeblatt, a spokesman for DCF. As a result, he said, only youths with a more intensive level of need are now referred to the more restrictive levels of care provided in a residential program.

DCF and CJR worked together to make appropriate changes, he said. A suspension on admissions was imposed, the census was reduced, and staff training and staffing levels both increased, he said.

However, Kleeblatt said, despite these efforts and as a result of a decreased demand for the kinds of services CJR provides, it’s our understanding that CJR felt they did not have adequate numbers of children to continue in its residential program.

As a result, he said, CJR reached the conclusion that it would move in another direction and concentrate on children whose needs are appropriate for community based services.

However, the Channel 3 I-Team obtained documents that give more insight about CJR’s closing, including reports of four unannounced inspections conducted by the Department of Children and Families in November, December and January.
According to the documents, DCF said it was concerned about staff members being seldom seen checking on children, a residential cottage with overflowing outside garbage cans, a residential cottage in which some children were still in bed at 11 a.m. and a visit during which four boys tested positive for marijuana.

Another entry from the December report state that some of the boys were “reported as acting aggressive and out of control. One staff member refused to work a shift because she was being harassed by a group of boys, while another staff member was threatened to be raped by male residents.

”The I-Team also obtained a memo discussing a pair of day in early January during which Connecticut State Police had to perform sweeps and lockdowns of the campus because staff members found notes that said someone “brought a gun to CJR.” The memo states the another note said the writer was going to “shoot the principal as well as others.
”No gun was found, police said.

Another factor in the decision to close was the cost. The documents state that in at least one case, charges to keep one teen at the center for a month totaled $9,000, adding up to more than $100,000 per year.

DCF is currently engaged in transition planning to ensure that the youths at CJR receive appropriate treatment services in other settings and that this transition occurs in an orderly fashion, Kleeblatt said.

CJR, which has rehabilitated hundreds, if not thousands of teenage boys through its residential program over its 100-year history, wouldn’t comment on the documents the I-Team obtained.

  1. Built in 1904 by a group of very young men with their
    mentors,The Connecticut Junior Republic,with its credo: NOTHING WITHOUT LABOR became a haven for way-
    ward adolescent males from troubled homes,disfunction-
    al homes, and, in some cases, no homes at all.

    It was founded on the principle that with a prudent regimen of discipline and honest labor,a foundation of
    self-worth,of healthy self-respect,could be laid upon
    which there could follow the solid establishment of
    the sense of personal reliability and responsibility and the will to compete and achieve.

    The mechanics by which this wonderful school for boys
    actually worked these ends to reality is a separate story that involves the dedicated faculty among which
    were inspirational individuals and the amazing govern-
    ance of a student body, that in itself, was incred-
    ible for its unfaltering steadfastness, its unimpeach-
    able integrity, and its amazing effectiveness in see-
    ing the school, the student body, and the faculty through every one of the myriad twists and turns in the daily living of a group of human beings assembled for the ultimate good of one another on Goshen Road
    in Litchfield, Connecticut.

    The contemplated eclipse from life, of this school, is a tragic concept of ponderous proportions. For me, it is like the death of my past, a fate I would work
    to alter.

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