Closed detention center site to house center for adjudicated youth

Closed detention center site to house center for adjudicated youth
October 22
00:00 2015

By Todd Luck

The Chronicle


Forsyth County’s youth detention center closed Sept. 30, but the site is expected to house a new center for adjudicated youth starting next year.

Forsyth County Youth Services Center on Sturmer Park Circle housed juveniles who had been accused of a criminal offense or are adjudicated pending court action. Built in 1962, it housed juveniles from Forsyth and other counties. County Commissioners voted to close it as a cost- saving measure.

The State, which decides where to send juveniles, is sending most Forsyth County juveniles to the Guilford County Juvenile Detention Center, but there are circumstances, for instance co-defendants that need to be separated, in which juveniles aren’t sent to the closest detention center.

Though the County pays for the youth to be housed in other counties, it’s still cheaper than operating a detention center. Of the 14 youth detention centers in the state, only three, including Guilford’s, are now run by counties and the rest are run by the State.

The N.C. Department of Public Safety’s Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice is now in a nominal lease with the County, which owns the property, to turn it into a center for adjudicated youth, which will be run by the nonprofit Methodist Home for Children and is scheduled to open in January. Also in the planning stages is the State turning the former group home on the property into transitional/re-entry housing for juveniles.

Assistant County Manager Damon Sanders-Pratt said that as the county was looking to end its detention center, the state was looking for someplace to house new juvenile services.

“As we were talking to the State about gearing down our program, that they’re no longer sending Forsyth County youth to our youth detention center and making other arrangements, at the same time the state was also putting out proposals for this crisis bed center for post-adjudicated juveniles and had an interest in a transitional facility,” he said.

According to Diana Kees, with the Communications Office of the N.C. Department of Public Safety, the new assessment and crisis center will be for youth who need a temporary out-of-home placement to stabilize their behavior. It will have eight beds for Level II and high-risk Level I adjudicated youth in a 19-county area of the Piedmont (Level I are misdemeanor level offenses and Level II are youth with multiple adjudications).Youth will normally stay there up to 14 days and can stay a maximum of 30 days.

“The center will provide an opportunity to determine effective interventions for each juvenile – matching their risk and needs with existing department and community resources – to reduce further court involvement, promote stronger families and to assure safer communities,” Kees said in an email.

Methodist Home for Children is a Raleigh-based 501(c)(3) that started in 1899 as a traditional campus-based orphanage and now provides a multitude of services for youth throughout the state. The organization operates five multi-purpose and transitional homes for juveniles in partnership with the N.C. Department of Public Safety and will be opening another assessment and crisis center in Granville County.

The new center in Forsyth is expected to have 18 employees. Methodist Home for Children is currently hiring employees, some of whom were staff at the detention center, like Director Sharon Singletary, who will be the director of the new center.

According to Forsyth County Human Resources Director Shontell Robinson, the youth detention center had 19 employees, seven of whom got new jobs with the county. Eleven were eligible to get severance packages and three left county employment. The county doesn’t keep track of if employees found jobs with other employers.


The move to close the center prompted four judges who serve in juvenile court to write a letter to the county commissioners last year expressing concern over the move, including the hardships it puts on parents to visit their children in another county.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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