Lawmakers updated on Vermont's juvenile detention center

Published: Sep. 6, 2019 at 12:56 AM EDT
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Vermont lawmakers got an update Thursday on the status of the Woodside Rehabilitation Center.

The Colchester juvenile detention facility is out of date and considered too much like a jail, and now its future is in question.

The Department for Children and Families has pitched building a new, larger facility with different levels of treatment for young adults experiencing mental health issues, but that plan faced backlash from opponents who say it's not necessary.

Thursday, DCF Commissioner Ken Schatz told the House Committee on Juveniles that fewer young people are headed to Woodside.

Lawmakers wanted to know if Woodside could be turned into a short-term detention center and send kids who are in need of residential treatment to different programs in the state.

DCF officials said they're looking into what they would need to do to make it work.

"What kinds of resources would they need, what level of professional expertise, what level of clinic expertise, what types of programs, what's their funding parameters?" Schatz said.

He says they plan to send out a request for information to programs this week and hope to have the data ready by the start of the new year for lawmakers to discuss their options.