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State leaders respond to Woodside lawsuit alleging abuse

Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 4:33 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - State leaders are responding to a lawsuit filed by former Woodside detainees claiming abuse.

The suit was filed Monday on behalf of seven former detainees at the Woodside Rehabilitation Center in Essex.

The facility used to house some of the state’s youngest violent offenders.

State leaders can not comment on the active lawsuit, but Vermont Human Services Secretary Mike Smith says the Scott administration tore down Woodside because it was not meeting the needs of kids.

“It wasn’t meeting the needs of the children in that particular group and we made the decision to close it down and push that decision. We have made the decision to go in a more therapeutic direction,” Smith said.

That direction is a proposed six-bed secure facility in Newbury to provide services.

But right now the state is appealing a local board’s denial.

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