Youth Center High Plains running at full schedule despite vacancies | KAMR
AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – The High Plains Youth Center continues to receive children from Potter and Randall counties referred to the facility after offenses in both counties involving children.
This comes as the Texas Department of Juvenile Justice recently halted its recruitment of indentured youth. According to previous reports from MyHighPlains.com, the department has decided to halt admissions due to ongoing staffing shortages, which officials say could threaten the safety of young people. As of Thursday, there were 140 youths in detention centers awaiting transfer to the department.
“The current risk is that the current problem of staffing secure facilities will lead to an inability to provide even basic supervision to young people locked in their rooms,” Shandra Carter, the department’s acting executive director, said in a letter. recent. “This could lead to a significantly impaired ability to intervene in the increasing suicidal behaviors already seen by young people struggling with the isolating impact of confinement in the operating room.”
Joe Barton, chief officer of Randall County Juvenile Probation and High Plains Youth Center, said while the center has seen an increase in vacancies, the center continues to operate with “full programming and in compliance with all state regulations and standards. .”
Barton said that because public facilities do not accept newcomers to their facilities, interned minors remain in county facilities, such as the High Plains Youth Center, waiting to be transported to public facilities.
“We have continuously provided detention services to children referred to the facility for offenses in Randall and Potter counties,” Barton said. “Our top priorities are keeping our communities safe and providing children with the safe care needed to ensure everyone is as safe and healthy as possible.”
Barton said the center has had to limit the number of detention referrals from across the region due to vacancies. This move is also to ensure the center has coverage and availability for children involved in Potter and Randall counties.
To fill these vacancies, Barton said the center maintains relationships with local and regional higher education institutions for internships as well as positions.
“I have a juvenile council and a court of commissioners supporting me, who are innovative and proactive in their efforts, as we look at all ways to stay competitive and provide employees with a rewarding career opportunity in a role important in public service,” Barton said.
For more information on the Hautes Plaines Youth Center, visit his website.