Tyrone Christian was one of nine people slain by juveniles who were supposed to be under the supervision of Washington, D.C., officials between 1999 and 2002, the Washington Post reports. Frederick Simmons ran from a group home in 1999 and shot another teenager while riding a bicycle. Alvin “Skeet” Narce was supposed to be in his independent-living apartment in 2000 when he shot a man several times in a stairwell. Jaycee Byrd took off from a group home in 2001 and shot a man four times for his $600 Avirex leather jacket.
The Post says that judges and social workers each year put hundreds of D.C. juveniles charged with crimes and foster children into homes of last resort: group homes, psychiatric hospitals and out-of-town residential treatment centers. It costs taxpayers $69 million a year. Some of the teenagers do well. But many are left to languish in a chaotic system that places both the public and the children in danger. An investigation by The Post found that many of about 85 privately run group homes and independent-living apartment programs are operated by poorly regulated contractors who bill taxpayers $70 to $244 per day, per child, while cutting corners on care, therapy sessions and upkeep. The largest psychiatric facility for foster children and juveniles has been beset by reports of sexual and physical abuse and allegations that it kept children for unneeded treatment. Scores of out-of-town treatment centers have turned out to be expensive and temporary solutions.
Today, in the second of a 4-part series, the Post reports on Re-Direct Inc. which was hired by D.C. to provide juveniles convicted of crimes with a refuge of counseling and structure. Instead, teenagers living in the company’s group homes and apartments received little help and were allowed to roam free. By the time the for-profit company declared bankruptcy this year, six of the teenagers had been slain. Four were killed on the streets, two shot in the head inside their apartment. A seventh committed murder. Others were in prison for robbery and assault.