In response to some of the letters, published in the newspaper, regarding the residential facility I want to open in Ferron. I would like people to know that, I am not just someone walking off the street to open this business. I have been in this line of work for several years, with several years of experience, training and education.
I have held a structured foster care license, supportive residential treatment license and currently hold a residential treatment license. I feel I am qualified to decide what type of youth is suitable for a program of this kind.
I also have mental health professionals that have and will help make those decisions. This program is not just a place to send youth to be "babysat". They will be held accountable every second, every minute, they are in the program. They have to complete a five level program to be able to return home, in which they learn a wide variety of skills such as; self-accountability, independent living, behavior issues, social skills, communication, and problem solving just to mention a few. The youth will need to make choices and be held accountable for them and learn to make the correct choices.
The youth will participate in a daily routine and activities in a family-like setting (not institutionalized), but with more than two parents. I have employees that are highly qualified who will be employed at the facility, so if a crisis does occur we will be there to handle the situation.
I have dealt with a very wide variety of different situations and know how to handle them correctly and safely. I know the possible risks and situations that can occur and I have taken this into great consideration. I have never put the community in danger from the few situations that have happened over the years. I have great respect for the community and the citizens that live in the community, I would not put them in harms way.
I have been compared to another facility in Wayne County a few times. In all fairness the only thing we have in common is the type of license. The facility in Wayne County also holds four residential treatment licenses and one outdoor wilderness license, which totals 278 females and males they can accept. I am asking for 16 female placements.
I have not stated in my business plan that would take adjudicated youth. Adjudicated youth include all Juvenile Justice Services, youth with court involvement, criminally convicted youth and DCFS youth. I stated that I would consider youth from the state as a second choice of placements. My business plan does not state that I have to have state youth to receive the funding I received.
I would suggest that if you're going to question someone's honesty or integrity of how they are going to run their business, to have all the facts before making such assumptions. The funding I have received is not a grant or free money, but a business loan that I took out in my name which has no bearing on whether or not I will take state youth placements. Nothing has been hidden, or covered up to push this through, I have given all the information requested by the city. I have answered every question they have asked. I have offered to answer questions for anyone several times. I have nothing to hide.
This is not a scary business or a threat to the community, it is to help our youth become successful adults. If you have questions please ask. I would encourage everyone to write to Ferron City for both concerns and support.