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Berkshire Farm under state scrutiny after teenagers wander away

Aug 09, 2018 8:00 am
Rick Karlin is reporting for the Times Union the Berkshire Farm Center in Canaan is under ‘’heightened monitoring’’ by the state after six young people ran away from the non-secure detention center in recent weeks. The privately run, state-licensed facility has been plagued by similar incidents over the years. The status “will be ongoing, as necessary, and is a standard response to circumstances such as these that give OCFS cause for concern,” said Craig Smith, spokesman for the state Office of Children and Family Services. While under heightened monitoring the center will be subject to frequent, unannounced visits, rigid reviews of its logs and records, increased reporting of incidents, staffing level assessments and increased reporting of incidents on the Berkshire campus, including youth leaving without authorization, Smith said. Of the six youths that have gone missing in the past couple of months, three have been found. One returned to Berkshire while the other two were sent to other facilities, Berkshire Farm spokeswoman Julie Brennan said. Three of the six summer runaways remain missing, along with two teenage boys who fled the facility in April. Berkshire Farm was founded in 1886, by attorney Frederick Burnham as place for “wayward boys.” Currently, youths are sent to Berkshire Farm by the courts as part of the state’s vast juvenile justice system. Because residents are not locked or fenced in it is easy for the youth to wander off despite its remote rural area. The facility serves boys between 12 and 18 years old. Read the full story in the Times Union.
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