To the Editor:
The State’s juvenile detention facility in Essex Jct. is again in the news. This time a judge ordered a bunch of changes and set time limits. Restraints, isolation and mentally ill juveniles are the new court ordered issues. This all stems from a lawsuit brought by lawyers and advocates of juveniles who are worried about these juveniles at Woodside. Yes, they want changes, but no, they have no idea how to make those changes. Are they willing to take any of these kids home with them? No, they are not, and they feel that’s the state’s problem, not there problem. Did these juveniles do things that caused them to end up at Woodside? Yes, they did. Was there any place else to put them? No, there was not.
During my 20 years as a juvenile services worker for the State of Vt Social Services I placed kids there as a last resort. They stayed until I was able to find a group home, like 204 Depot or Bennington School. Now, the state legislators want DCF to handle older adults while the judge is ordering them to make all these changes at Woodside. It’s one or the other! If they close the place where will these young adults and juveniles go? Figure that one out, please.
Thomas W. King