The Department of Health and Human Services has signed a $55,000 contract with Alvarez and Marsal Public Sector Services of Washington, D.C., to write a closure plan for the Sununu Youth Services Center. (Dave Cummings | New Hampshire Bulletin)
The state Department of Health and Human Services is wasting no time preparing a closure plan for the Sununu Youth Services Center before the March 1, 2023, deadline.
The department has signed a $55,000 contract with Alvarez and Marsal Public Sector Services of Washington, D.C., to write a closure plan and a plan for transitioning youth residents to a new treatment setting. The budget signed by Gov. Chris Sununu Friday creates a committee of three state representatives and two senators to make a final recommendation by November. The new facility must have room for up to 18 youths and provide enough flexibility to separate residents by gender, treatment needs, and security risk.
Under the terms of the contract, which is being paid for with federal pandemic aid, the consultant must draft a plan by mid-July and a final plan by August, when the department will present its recommendations to the legislative committee, said DHHS spokeswoman Kathy Remillard.
State lawmakers and juvenile advocates have long wanted to close the center, believing a youth detention facility is the wrong place to hold and rehabilitate children. The department currently spends about $13 million a year to care for the approximately five to 10 juveniles at the center at any given time.
As part of the contract, Alvarez and Marsal must recommend future uses for the center and identify potential COVID-19 risks and appropriate mitigation measures. The company is expected to interview center staff, residents and their families, members of law enforcement, educators, and human service providers as part of its research.
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