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Sunday, April 14, 2024

DHS Amends Contract with Rite of Passage to Manage Juvenile Treatment Centers


In February 2020, the Chairman and CEO of Youth Opportunity Investments, Ronald Hunter, notified the Department of Human Services of their intent to sever ties with the state. On April 15, the Department of Human Services released a statement naming Rite of Passage as the new contractor.

YOI cited financial woes as its reason for discontinuing their services. In Hunter’s letter he stated, “it is evident to those who understand that all businesses are sustained by generating at least as much money as they spend to provide their goods/services. Youth Opportunity Investments is not in a position to continue its relationship with the State of Arkansas.” Hunter added that YOI will complete its obligations under the terms of the one-year agreement.
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ROP will immediately begin working with YOI to transition the centers to new management, with the official takeover date of July 1. Rite of Passage, the same company who was initially awarded the contract for youth services, will assume operations at all state juvenile treatment centers in Arkansas, including Mansfield.

Amy Webb, Chief of Communications, stated “ROP has had a contract to handle the day-to-day management of the state’s Arkansas Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center in Saline County since August 2016. The other four facilities in Lewisville, Mansfield, Dermott, and Harrisburg are overseen by Youth Opportunities Investments (YOI). In mid-February, YOI notified DYS that it would not continue with its oversight of those facilities after June 30 due to financial concerns. As a result, DHS presented an amendment to ROP’s contract to the State Legislature today.”

The amendment allows ROP to take on the day-to-day management of the treatment centers in Dermott, Mansfield, and Harrisburg. With the center in Saline County, there are 230 residential beds and 20 assessment beds available across all these centers. According to Webb, ROP may use the Lewisville campus to operate a substance abuse treatment program, if funding is available.

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