Waterbury, VT—Today we informed staff at the Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center that we will submit a proposal to the Vermont General Assembly to close the facility in 2020. The decision to close the facility follows years of steady decline of delinquent youth at Woodside and the increased capacity for community-based acute care. The proposal to close Woodside will ultimately require legislative action by the General Assembly in the upcoming session.
“This Administration – through the Agency of Human Services – working with the legislature and community partners has greatly increased community capacity where youth with mental health concerns can be treated in the least restrictive setting possible. This work has led to a significant decline in delinquent youth in custody,” said Secretary of the Agency of Human Services Mike Smith. “The steady decline of delinquent youth in State custody has impacted the population at Woodside, and over the last several months, the census at Woodside has been five or fewer youth. On November 21st, Woodside did not have a youth in the facility for the first time since its inception.”
“While Woodside has served a critical role in our continuum of care for delinquent youth for over 30 years, it has become clear that youth needs are changing, and we need to meet their changing needs,” stated Commissioner of the Department for Children and Families, Ken Schatz. “Youth have better outcomes through community-based settings where they remain connected to family and supports. DCF will continue to work with our community partners and will continue to grow capacity to meet the complex needs of acute youth in our care.”
“We are incredibly appreciative of the Woodside staff who have shown true dedication and devotion to the care of youth at Woodside,” continued Secretary Mike Smith. “And we will be working collaboratively with the VSEA to support staff through this transition.”