More than a month after announcing that most of the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School would close by Nov. 30, the administration of Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich is scrambling to find places to house and treat dozens of dangerous and deeply troubled juvenile offenders, the Baltimore Sun reports. There are no other facilities in Maryland that can handle some of the youths Hickey has served, says state Juvenile Services Secretary Kenneth C. Montague Jr. He said some will have to be sent to residential treatment programs in Pennsylvania and Virginia that his agency has used in the past. Others might be sent to more distant states.
Montague said out-of-state placements would be needed only for “deep end” youths who require the most intensive treatment services and who must be confined in locked facilities to protect the public. Montague said the cost of placing youths out of state shouldn’t be more than what Maryland has spent to keep them at Hickey. “It’s about the same as service delivery within the state – between $60,000 and $70,000 per youth,” he said. An official of a group called Juvenile Justice Family Advocacy Initiative said, “No one is saying closing Hickey is a bad thing, but if kids are going to be left in a worse position, it could be a nightmare instead of a godsend.”