Author Topic: John de la Howe wilderness program shut down  (Read 546 times)

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Offline Oscar

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John de la Howe wilderness program shut down
« on: June 12, 2017, 02:05:40 AM »
Maybe this ruling has the key to shut more wilderness programs down as the students need proper care - even in wilderness programs.

Quote from: Index Journal

DSS rescinds licensing for wilderness program at John de la Howe
By ARIEL GILREATH, Nov 1, 2016

On Oct. 4, the Department of Social Services officially rescinded John de la Howe's license to serve students in its Wilderness Program.

John de la Howe is a residential agency in McCormick County serving at-risk teens that has drawn heated criticism from legislators for the last few years because of the agency's high per pupil spending.

In 2014, the Office of the Inspector General issued a report stating the school was spending about $87,000 per student per year, or about $240 per student per day. The report said the agency should be spending closer to $150 per student per day with residential, educational and medical costs.

In April, the L.S. Brice School on de la Howe's campus lost accreditation from the Department of Education, and near the end of May, a Senate proviso was passed requiring the agency to contract-out its educational component and provide services to youth aging out of the foster care system.

The agency is also required to work with an advisory group made up of representatives from several state agencies, including DSS, the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Education.

On Sept. 28, the agency received an unofficial notice from DSS that the Wilderness Program's license would not be extended for the following year. The program has been licensed by DSS since 1988.

The Wilderness Program is an outdoor, therapeutic program for middle school boys ages 12 to 14 that follows the Campbell Loughmiller approach -- which is also sometimes called "adventure therapy."

Students in the program are placed in a rustic, camp-like setting where they generally stay for several months and delve into the issues that brought them to de la Howe.

A letter from DSS detailing the problems with the program said its license was rescinded because of the following regulation violations: "there shall be proper equipment for adequately heating and cooling in living, sleeping, sanitary and working areas; no child shall sleep in a detached unsafe building, an unfinished attic or basement, a stairway, hall or room designated or commonly used for other than bedroom purposes; there shall be at least one lavatory with adequate hot and cold water for every six children, a tub or shower and one indoor flush toilet for every eight children. Multiple toilets in one area shall be in separate compartments; and a facility shall be effectively safeguarded against insects and rodents."

Danny Webb, president of de la Howe, said the main reason that was given for revoking the license is because the program doesn't have heating or air conditioning.

"Traditionally, programs that are modeled after the Campbell Loughmiller model do not have that," Webb said. "In fact, the students along with the staff actually construct the structures that they stay in. So that really goes against the model that we are using."

Webb said the Wilderness Program had been approved by DSS without heating and air conditioning since it first opened.