Sununu Youth Services Center

Youth Services Center

A class action lawsuit filed Saturday alleges decades of abuse at New Hampshire's state-run youth detention center, known as the Sununu Youth Services Center.

The suit comes six months after two former counselors were charged with repeatedly raping a teenage boy at the Manchester center in the late 1990s.

(Scroll down for full interview with attorney Rus Rilee)

Rus Rilee, the attorney representing the 36 alleged victims, says more victims have come forward since the suit was filed over the weekend. 

Youth Services Center

A class action lawsuit alleges decades of abuse at New Hampshire's state-run youth detention center.

The lawsuit filed Saturday comes six months after two former counselors were charged with repeatedly raping a teenage boy at the Youth Development Center in Manchester in the late 1990s.

The victim in that case is now the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed by attorneys representing 35 others who say they were abused between 1982 and 2014.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

A group of providers and staff with the Department of Health and Human Services are re-examining the state’s model for how to treat young people with substance use disorders and mental health challenges, following the closure last month of the state’s sole addiction treatment center for youth. 

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

After at least two overdoses by teenagers in their care, the state health department canceled its contract with the organization Granite Pathways, which was running a drug treatment facility at the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester.  

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

New Hampshire is terminating its contract with the state's sole addiction treatment facility for youth and temporarily suspending all admissions after teenagers staying there overdosed and were rushed to the hospital earlier this week.

On Wednesday, DHHS Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers told reporters that swift action was neccessary against Granite Pathways, the organization running the center.

New Hampshire’s Office of the Child Advocate is launching a review of some practices used by residential youth facilities in the state.

Child Advocate Moira O’Neill is taking a look at how both private centers and the state-run Sununu Youth Center use restraint and seclusion among children in care.

NHPR's Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with O'Neill about what she's hoping to understand through her review.

 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The New Hampshire Office of the Child Advocate is launching a review into how restraint and seclusion are being used on children in behavioral health settings.

The review will look at both private residential treatment facilities and the state-run Sununu Youth Services Center.

Two former employees of the Sununu Youth Services Center have been indicted on a combined 82 counts of aggravated sexual assault against a minor who was in custody there during the late 1990s.

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office says it is also opening a wider investigation into the treatment of minors at the facility from 1990 to 2000.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

The Office of the Child Advocate says New Hampshire is making progress in reforming the foster and juvenile justice systems, but some say the state isn't moving fast enough.

At a juvenile justice forum on Friday at the statehouse, advocates touted a group of child welfare bills signed this month by Governor Sununu.

A group of New Hampshire lawmakers has issued their recommendations for repurposing the Sununu Youth Services Center (SYSC), the state’s juvenile detention facility in Manchester.

The committee convened in response to a juvenile justice bill passed this summer to address underutilization of the facility, which currently houses around 30 juveniles whom the court deems to be delinquent and violent.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

New Hampshire is weeks away from having a 36-bed drug treatment center for youth.

The Youth Substance Use Disorder Treatment Center, or SUD, is in a renovated wing of the Sununu Youth Services Center, a youth detention center in Manchester. 

With cinder block walls and small bedrooms, the wing has retained an institutional look, but it is entirely separate from the secure detention center, with a separate entrance, parking lot, a space for yoga and meditation, and outdoor fields.

The state has chosen Granite Pathways to operate a new substance use disorder treatment facility for teenagers on the grounds of the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester.

The Executive Council approved a four-year contract with the group during its meeting on Wednesday, with services expected to begin in early November.

The 36-bed facility will be open to children ages 12-18 who are in need of inpatient treatment, making it the first residential program for minors in the state.

The Sununu Youth Services Center, a Manchester-based juvenile detention facility, will now provide services to teens struggling with substance use disorder. 

The Department of Health and Human Services says it will be a residential facility with 36 beds that will be run by a non-governmental organization. The center has undergone several changes within the past year after lawmakers passed legislation related to juvenile justice reform, and it's population has declined.

Construction is wrapping up on a new drug treatment facility at the John H. Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester.

The 36-bed facility at the detention center will provide services to people ages 12 to 18 with substance use disorder.

NHPR File Photo

 

The director of operations at New Hampshire's youth detention center has resigned to take an out-of-state job.

Brady Serafin led the Sununu Youth Services Center for 2 ½ years. Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers said Thursday that Serafin served the department with distinction. Serafin also was chief of the Bureau of Family, Community, and Program Supports in the Division for Children, Youth and Families.

State officials are pushing back against allegations of a pattern of illegal use of restraints on juveniles at the Sununu Youth Center.

In a statement, Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald say a recent report from the Disability Rights Center "contains numerous factual errors, unsupported conclusions, and incorrect statements of law."

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: May 11, 2018

May 10, 2018

The state's new Child Advocate launches an investigation into the Sununu Youth Center following allegations of a pattern of illegal use of restraints on juveniles there.  For the third time this year, the New Hampshire House of Representatives votes against a bill to create education savings accounts. Voting laws and Medicaid expansion are on the governor's desk to be signed into law.  And it's that time of year - bears are out, looking for easy pickings at your bird-feeder...even in Manchester.

WATCH THE SHOW:

The state's new Child Advocate, Moira O'Neill, is launching an investigation into the Sununu Youth Center following allegations of a pattern of illegal use of restraints on juveniles there.

In a new report, the Disability Rights Center of New Hampshire says staff at the Sununu Youth Center used excessive force on a 14-year-old boy with emotional and behavioral disabilities in December of 2016. The DRC's investigation found probable cause to suspect the Sununu Center used, and continues to use, unlawful restraint.

All Things Considered host Peter Biello interviewed Andrew Milne, staff attorney for the DRC, to discuss the new report. (SCROLL to the bottom of this post to read the report as well as the response from DHHS.)

A Medicaid rule that's been on the books since the program was created bars states from using federal money on care provided in many residential mental health and substance use treatment facilities with more than 16 beds.

courtesy of the Webster House

There’s a current shortage of beds in group homes throughout New Hampshire. In fact, 22 homes have closed in the past six years, and only 21 group homes are remaining.

Lou Catano is the executive director of The Webster House, a children’s home in Manchester. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Catano about House Bill 517, which will go into effect at the beginning of the year, and its potential impact on group homes in the state.

(Editor's note: this transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.)

House Budgetwriters Offer New Plan For Sununu Youth Center

Mar 27, 2017
Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The House Finance Committee on Monday included in its budget blueprint a proposal to address underutilization at the state’s only juvenile detention center.

The Sununu Youth Center in Manchester has 144 beds, only half of which are being used on a daily basis.

primeroofingcontractor.com

   

State health officials and a legislative working group are at odds over how to best transform part of the state's underused juvenile detention center in an effort to meet a $5 million budget cut.

The health department wants to convert half the Sununu Youth Services Center into a psychiatric residential treatment facility. But a legislative working group proposes selling most of the campus to a non-profit that will run a youth substance abuse treatment center. Any changes require legislative approval.

Fate of Sununu Youth Center Remains Unclear

Oct 26, 2015
Youth Services Center

The Sununu Youth Center, New Hampshire's only juvenile detention facility, is one step closer to finding a new function. What that will look like, however, remains unclear.

Dozens of Manchester residents Thursday night took part in a discussion on how the state can make better use of the Sununu Youth Services Center. Currently only one third of the facility’s 144 beds are being used.

During Thursday’s public meeting, staff from the Department of Health and Human Services outlined three possible options for the Sununu Center. One: privatize services.  Two: close down the facility altogether. Or Three– use the space to provide substance abuse and mental health treatment for youth not court-ordered to be there.

DHHS

At a meeting Monday morning at the Sununu Youth Center in Manchester, a bipartisan group of N.H. lawmakers discussed several options of how the facility can save money due to its low enrollment. The facility currently houses 44 people but it can hold 144.

Senate and House members applauded the juvenile detention center for operating at a third of its capacity. but said it needs to better utilize its funding in order to serve more youth.

The group did; however, rule out closing the facility.