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STATE SEALS BOYS VILLAGE FATE

Juvenile Justice will no longer contract with the halfway house, which failed its annual review.

The state Department of Juvenile Justice announced Friday it will terminate its contract with the San Antonio Boys Village on Dec. 31, effectively shuttering the halfway house that has treated delinquent teen boys for 36 years.

About 30 employees will have to find new jobs. Four more employees, who work under contract for the Pasco school district, will have to be reassigned. And the state will have to find somewhere else to send the boys who have been convicted of lower-level juvenile offenses.

"I was hopeful (of keeping the state contract), but I can't say I wasn't expecting it," executive director Al Capodiferro said Friday of the closure. "I was as certain as you can be about the uncertain."

The fate of the 30-bed facility was sealed by a critical report last month from the state agency, which gave San Antonio Boys Village grades of "minimal" or "failed" in four of the five categories.

The 20-page report found that:

- A youth escaped the nonsecure residential facility Feb. 10 by running from the recreation area. Two staff members were disciplined for failing to provide proper supervision.

- One of two substance abuse counselors provided by Baycare Inc. is unlicensed and did not meet the state agency's educational requirements.

- The facility failed to create mental health treatment plans for youths receiving treatment or taking psychotropic medication. The doctor charged with overseeing mental health and substance abuse issues told the agency she didn't have enough time to perform all of her duties.

- Suicide risk assessment forms were missing important information on certain teens, including suicidal statements or actions they had recently made.

- Employees were supposed to prepare plans outlining treatment and goals for each teen before his release, but none of the plans reviewed by the state had "achievable and measurable goals."

Samadhi Jones, spokeswoman for the state agency, said an annual review decides whether facilities like the boys village are performing at or below standards.

The boys village's low performance rating in this year's report is similar to the report it received from the state agency in 2008. That year, the boys village had a 61 percent overall performance rating, Jones said, just making the "minimal" range.

This year's overall score was 59 percent: "Failed to meet standards."

Capodiferro said the facility is contracted for 30 boys but houses about 25. The bulk of the boys will finish the program by Dec. 31, he said, and four will be placed by the state agency in another moderate risk facility.

Capodiferro said he hopes his employees are able to find employment after the village closes.

"It was an agency decision," he said. "But we are optimistic that we will find some way to serve youth."

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at cspencer@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4609.

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