Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
September 7, 2017

Russ Reno, Communications and Legislative Services, (office) 402-471-8287 or (cell) 402-450-7318, or 
YRTC-K Accredited by American Correctional Association

Lincoln – After congratulating the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Kearney on its progress in meeting the needs of the young men there, commissioners of the American Correctional Association (ACA) again awarded accreditation to the facility at its annual meeting earlier this month for meeting 380 of 384 total standards.

During a hearing in St. Louis at the ACA’s annual meeting, the ACA commissioners said the three-year accreditation recognizes staff support of the new YRTC leadership, and that the youth feel safe and are generally happy.

“This audit shows our rehabilitation facility and treatment services are headed in the right direction,” said DHHS CEO Courtney Phillips. “We appreciate the auditors’ compliments about our positive on-campus culture as well as the synergy and good communication between the various areas of the facility regarding the welfare and rehabilitation and treatment services for each youth. We’ve worked hard the last two years to build a more positive team atmosphere and it shows.”

“The comments of the auditors are a real pat on the back for our team who are committed to helping our youth find greater success in life,” said Children and Family Services Director Matt Wallen. “The turnaround at the YRTC in Kearney is impressive.”

The YRTC-K was 98.7 percent compliant with 346 unique standards, and all 38 mandatory standards. Facilities must comply with 90 percent of accreditation standards. The non-compliance areas in the audit already have been addressed in full.

“Working to meet 384 totally unique standards is not an easy accomplishment,” said Mark LaBouchardiere, administrator of the Office of Juvenile Services. “The true credit for this high level of compliance goes to all our team members who changed the culture here with everyone moving in the same direction.”

Also given high marks was the teamwork of the staff at Kearney and YRTC-Geneva who assist each other in meeting the needs of youth at both locations.

The YRTC’s physical plant also impressed the auditors who noted that the buildings are well maintained and clean.

The auditors’ findings were based on a facility tour and confidential interviews with about 50 youth and 40 staff.

A team of auditors representing ACA visited the facility in June during the three-day audit. ACA’s accreditation audit is conducted every three years.

The YRTC in Geneva for young women also is going through the re-accreditation process with ACA.