PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia child welfare officials are taking some 50 youth out of residential facilities run by Villanova-based provider Devereux but did not provide a specific reason.
No city officials were available to answer questions after the mayor’s press office announced the move in a release.
The release quotes Department of Human Services Commissioner Kimberly Ali as saying, “We are firm in our commitment that providers are accountable for ensuring quality programming and services. That’s why today Philadelphia DHS announced it will discontinue use of Devereux residential programs.”
A spokesman for Devereux said the decision is “unjustified and inconsistent with multiple reviews conducted by various independent entities” and that the provider is seeking additional explanation from DHS.
“We are incredibly saddened that we will no longer be able to fulfill our mission and provide the best care available for 46 of Philadelphia’s children,” he said in an email statement. “The treatment disruptions to these children and their families is deeply regrettable, and our thoughts are with them as they must now face a series of very difficult transitions and destabilizations.”
The statement also notes that Devereux will continue to provide services for Philadelphia children in DHS care in nonresidential settings.
City Councilmember Helen Gym applauded the move during Thursday’s council meeting, putting it in the context of a broader move by DHS away from residential placement.
A spokesperson for the city said DHS has reduced the number of dependent youth in facilities by 47% since 2016, and the number of delinquent youth by 80%.
Gym also congratulated the department on placing youth in residential treatment in smaller settings, closer to home, including a new facility in West Philadelphia.
Gym declined to comment on the new facility later, as did the West Philadelphia district Councilmember Jamie Gauthier.
Several Kenney administration officials also declined to comment.
Public postings show South Jersey-based Legacy Treatment Services is opening a West Philadelphia facility for youth in treatment.
It’s not clear why city officials refused to discuss the facility.