New York Prepares New Group Homes for Young Lawbreakers

In and around New York City, the Bloomberg administration is setting up new group homes for young people aged 15 and under who have been sentenced for crimes. The group homes will be operated by 11 nonprofit providers, with some homes opening as soon as September.
Each group home will house 4 to 24 young people, allowing more than 300 troubled kids to serve their time in the city instead of in upstate juvenile facilities. This will make it easier for them to stay in contact with their families and support networks, which will reduce the likelihood of recidivism. 
Residents will live in the group homes for an average of seven months and will attend Department of Education schools during the day. As they get close to completing their sentence, many will return to their former public schools. 
From Child Welfare Watch:

The new residences will be overseen by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), and are expected to provide not only supervision but also counseling and social services. Despite the “nonsecure” label, these city residences will in fact be locked and fully staffed, though not ringed with barbed wire like the upstate lockups they will replace.
Officials say that keeping teen offenders close to their families, communities, and lawyers—and in city-run education programs—should help smooth their transitions home and reduce the likelihood that they will commit new crimes. “This is as significant a shift as I have seen in my thirty years in the business, and a most welcome one,” says Bill Baccaglini, executive director of New York Foundling, which will be running one of the new facilities.
The nonsecure residences are part of the city’s “Close to Home” initiative, which transfers responsibility for all but the most severe of the city’s young lawbreakers from the state to the city. Though most of the new sites will open in the five boroughs, a few specialized residential programs for young people with specific issues—like fire starters or girls who have been exploited as prostitutes—will be located on residential campuses in Westchester and Long Island. ACS expects some of these specialized programs to move into the city within two years.

Liz Wu is a Digital Accounts Manager at Prichard Communications, where she oversees digital outreach for Reclaiming Futures and edits Reclaiming Futures Every Day. Before joining the Prichard team, Liz established the West Coast communications presence for the New America Foundation, where she managed all media relations, event planning and social media outreach for their 6 domestic policy programs. Liz received a B.A. in both Peace and Conflict Studies and German from the University of California at Berkeley. She tweets from @LizSF.
*Photo at top by Flickr user rakkhi

Updated: February 08 2018