“Close to Home” Program for Juveniles: A Good Idea That Turned Problematic
Date:  06-11-2015

Providing a neighborhood group home for non-violent youths with minor records makes sense, but is not without big problems
The “Close to Home” program, a part of New York’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) since 2013, was a response to juveniles being sexually abused and beaten when they were placed in facilities throughout the state. The homes, run by Boys Town under a multi-million dollar contract with New York City, are supposed to be a viable alternative to incarceration for youths in need of low supervision. While the idea was certainly a good one, the Close to Home program is now being scrutinized after several disturbing events occurred.

Residents of the “Close to Home” program began to run away in droves. Some of those who were AWOL committed violent acts. According to ProPublica, fights in the Homes became common and contraband was introduced at an alarming rate. Neighbors were concerned about the problems the Homes were experiencing. Positive attitudes toward this new model to keep kids in need of low-level supervision from going to jail began shifting in the opposite direction.

ProPublica gives a brief history of the Close to Home program and reveals how people who promote this promising idea are in now fighting to save the program despite major opposition from the community and disgusted former board members.

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