By TREY BUNDY
Published: March 19, 2011
New York Times
In Alameda County, there is just one emergency group-home shelter for emotionally disturbed teenagers. It is called Refuge, for Resource Environment for Underprivileged Groups Enterprise Inc., but according to state documents and former employees, it is anything but a safe haven.
The record of an investigative visit of a Refuge group home in June 2007 by the Community Care Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services.
Refuge, based in Oakland, has been cited 118 times for health, safety, personal rights and procedural violations during its 11-year existence, public records show. Violations included providing insufficient food and clothing, mishandling of residents’ money and medications, and abusive treatment by an inadequately trained staff.
On top of that, therapeutic support for the troubled young residents was all but nonexistent, two former employees say.
“Besides having a house and some food, I don’t know what other services they’re providing young people,” said Nicole Monroe, a former case manager in one of three six-bed Refuge homes in Oakland. “Not much was going on when I was working there.”
The troubles at Refuge, which serves young people who often come from backgrounds of (alleged) abuse and neglect, illustrate the difficulties that state and local governments have in regulating facilities that care for the most vulnerable populations.*
The state agency responsible for overseeing conditions inside group homes, the Community Care Licensing Division of the Department of Social Services, says that its inspectors look only for specific types of health, safety, procedural and personal rights violations, and that county social workers are responsible for assessing the quality of care.
County officials say it is the state’s job to assure that group homes function properly. FULL STORY
* Gawd, I am sick of that preposterous term