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Comptroller: Staff shortages at juvenile justice centers is problem

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An audit conducted by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli has found significant staff shortages in juvenile justice centers, putting the youth at risk. The report highlighted an increase in incidents of self-harm, drug contraband, and lapses in necessary staff training and health assessments. This comes amid a surge in the youth population in these facilities, partly due to New York’s Raise the Age legislation.

The audit, focusing on six facilities, revealed that the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) failed to ensure timely intake assessments for the youth and proper training for staff on restraining methods. It also found that many youths did not receive required screenings, and there were delays in conducting medical assessments, with one case taking nearly nine months.

DiNapoli’s audit calls for immediate action to address these shortcomings, recommending that OCFS complete intake assessments on time, keep staff training up to date, and maintain accurate records of restraint incidents. OCFS has acknowledged the challenges, attributing them to pandemic-related staffing shortages, and is exploring ways to improve training and staff retention.

Categories: New York StateNews