YRTC-K Secures Accreditation by American Correctional Association

News Release
For Immediate Release: 7/14/2020

Leah Bucco-White, Communications, (402) 309-4157,
Khalilah LeGrand, Communications, (402) 853-1320,


Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today announced the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Kearney (YRTC-K) received its latest accreditation. Auditors determined YRTC-K met 366 of 367 standards.

“This audit shows that efforts to strengthen our YRTC System and the programming in Kearney are having an impact," DHHS CEO Dannette R. Smith said. “We appreciate the auditors' comments that our staff feel part of a team with a common mission, and that the standards and practices in place show in the way staff and youth interact. Our team in Kearney is dedicated to the young people who've been placed in their care. The results of this audit reflect their hard work."

The YRTC-K achieved 99.7 percent compliance with 367 unique standards, including all 40 mandatory standards. To earn accreditation, facilities must fully comply with all mandatory standards and 90 percent of remaining standards.

Mark LaBouchardiere, DHHS Facilities Director said, "Auditors reported that they were aware of the focus placed on our YRTC system in recent years. During this visit, the team was very complimentary of the care given by our medical and mental health teams – particularly their work to prevent illness in the midst of the current pandemic."

The accreditation process surveys a wide range of standards, including medical care, rehabilitation and treatment programming for youth, staff training and development, safety and emergency procedures, facility and operational measures, and food service.

The only item of non-compliance related to layout limitations of Morton – one housing unit, which reflects the age of a facility originally built in the 1950s. Auditors suggested and DHHS will seek a waiver to address the standard. Auditors noted that the campus and buildings are clean and well maintained.

The audit team's findings were based on a facility tour, confidential interviews with youth and staff working across all shifts, and review of facility files conducted over three days earlier this month. The American Correctional Association audits the state's YRTC facilities every three years.


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