Disability Rights Ohio Issues Report and Recommendations to Improve Outcomes for Ohio’s Youth in Residential Treatment System

December 1, 2016 / Residential Treatment Facilitiess

Columbus, OH – After many months of review and collaboration with experts and advocates, Disability Rights Ohio today issued a report examining Ohio’s approach to residential treatment services for youth. The report, Treatment Instead of Trauma: Examining Residential Treatment for Ohio’s Youth, provides a detailed review of the barriers to effective treatment that currently exist in Ohio, and offers specific recommendations for improvement.

Disability Rights Ohio’s report complements many of the June 2016 recommendations provided by the Joint Legislative Committee on Multi-System Youth but focuses more on the development of greater community-based services to prevent unnecessary residential placements. The report finds that Ohio should take the following approach to improve residential treatment for youth:

     • use data effectively to assess services and improve outcomes for youth;
     • prevent unnecessary institutionalization by prioritizing high-quality community-based services;
     • develop a process for families to access needed services without requiring custody relinquishment; and
     • improve the care and quality of residential treatment.

“There are approximately 1,900 youth who receive services from residential treatment facilities in Ohio. These youth have experienced abuse, neglect, violence, or other types of trauma, and Ohio’s system of care must evolve to better support them,” said Kristen Henry, Disability Rights Ohio attorney. “They require care and support that is aware of the trauma that they have experienced, along with evidence-based services and supports that allow them to develop the skills and tools they need to achieve positive outcomes.”

Ohio’s residential treatment facilities are intended to provide short-term, intensive services to high-needs youth in order to identify and address the concerns necessitating out-of-home care. Once stable, these youth should be supported and connected to resources as they transition back to their homes and communities. However, there often barriers to this plan of care, as the youth are often placed in residential facilities unnecessarily because they cannot access high-quality community-based services.

Disability Rights Ohio plans to work with advocates, policy makers, and other stakeholders to share the report’s recommendations and encourage improvements to the system.

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