Good Shepherd Services, a nonprofit residential treatment center in Baltimore County, cited by two state agencies for improper supervision of juvenile offenders in state custody. The decision to place a moratorium on sending youth offenders to Good Shepherd comes after one resident reported being sexually assaulted and three other residents, who had stolen medicine from a medical cart showed signs of overdose.
The Department of Juvenile Services contracts with the organization to provide mental health services to juvenile offenders, who have been committed. According to agency officials, the program failed to comply with departmental standards and policies.
The Department of Human Resources declined to say what prompted their moratorium. The department is responsible for overseeing the state’s child welfare system. The Baltimore Sun obtained public records, which showed the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene had previous documented lack of supervision and other problems. According to the records, regulators had investigated numerous incidents this, residents and staff members were interviewed and surveillance video from the facility was reviewed.
One case involved a female resident, who reported to staff two sexual assaults on two separate occasions by another resident. The regulators documented in a report that “failure to enforce facility policies and procedures designed to protect residents may have put (a resident) at risk for the alleged assaults.”
Surveillance video from the facility showed one resident raiding a medicine cart, which led to three residents exhibiting signs of overdose. The regulators noted, “The facility staff failed to safely store medications, which affected the health and safety of all residents on the unit.”
Another report noted several juveniles attacking other residents. The incident stemmed from what the residents referred to as a “hit list”.
CEO of Good Shepherd Services Michele Wyman declined to discuss the incident reports. She did say the center was taking the necessary steps to address the issues and her staff was highly trained. The center houses both male and female between the ages of 13 to 21, with a maximum holding capacity of 75 residents.
The Mary’s Mount Manor, an 8-bed group home in Anne Arundel County, were cited by the departments of human resources and juvenile services. Agency officials declined to specify what led to the decision to impose the moratoriums.
The youths both facilities have been removed and relocated. The state’s foster care system is currently overseeing care for about 5,000 children. It isn’t unusual to see an average of 575 youth offenders to be committed on any given day. Group homes are an alternative to institutionalization, providing a family-like setting. Residential treatment centers provide 24-hour supervision, restrictive environment and psychiatric treatment.