KEARNEY —Here is a recap of some of the steps Nebraska Health and Human Services CEO Dannette Smith announced for the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Kearney:
1. Additional staff have been pulled in from other state facilities, including the temporarily closed home for female juvenile offenders in Geneva. She wouldn’t say how many.
2. Nebraska will move six boys in mid-February to a new, stricter, more one-on-one placement in Lincoln. Those being moved include some of the juveniles involved in staff assaults.
3. The state will return three girls in mid-February to a restored unit at the Geneva center as they transition back into their home communities.
4. HHS plans to send two boys to the Hastings Regional Center for treatment appropriate to their drug or alcohol dependency.
5. HHS asked judges for a 10-day hold on sending new juveniles to the youth center as it makes changes. Those youths will be held in local juvenile detention centers. State Court Administrator Corey Steel said Wednesday that individual judges will have the latitude to decide whether to comply with the state’s request.
6. The state is working to beef up its assessment of children in the juvenile justice system before they get placed in the facility.
7. Someone from the youth center’s executive leadership team will be on campus 24 hours a day, which was not always the case before.
8. New rules for how the center handles visits will be enforced, including limiting on-site visits to family and friends and banning off-campus trips and visits for 30 days.
9. Managers and staff will communicate regularly, at each shift change, about any concerns.
10. HHS leaders in Lincoln, including Smith, will receive daily briefings from center staff.