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YRTC-Kearney Male Youth Transfer to Lincoln Facility


Lincoln – Recently the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) outlined an action plan to better ensure a safe and secure environment at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Kearney. Several incidents occurred at the center in recent weeks ranging from youth absconding from the facility to staff assaults. DHHS is taking immediate and necessary steps to address the situation.


The Department is in the process of transferring several high-acuity male youth to its new Lincoln Facility. The Lincoln Facility provides more intensive interventions such as targeted behavioral and trauma-based programming.


“We’re working to create a continuum of care within the YRTC System. It’s critical that the facility and programming is an appropriate match for the youth who are served there,” said Dannette R. Smith, DHHS CEO. “The Lincoln Facility provides more intensive and individualized programming for youth and provides the appropriate physical structure and security required to serve them.”


To ensure a smooth transition for youth into the Lincoln Facility, DHHS is partnering with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) to temporarily augment existing staffing for the next 90 days. Three NDCS teammates will work alongside the DHHS team inside the facility. NDCS teammates will undergo the same training as DHHS teammates and follow the same processes and protocols in serving the youth.


Some female youth who are close to transitioning back into their communities relocated to the newly renovated LaFlesche Cottage at YRTC-Geneva. YRTC-Geneva is a re-entry program in a less restrictive environment with a more home-like setting.

Additional youth will also transition to the Hastings Regional Center campus, which provides residential substance use disorder treatment for adolescent males.

More actions being taken at YRTC-Kearney:

  • YRTC leadership is on campus 24 hours a day providing additional assistance to ensure safety and security for our team and youth we serve.
  • Strengthening of protocols including those related to on-site and off-site visitation and furloughs, while continuing to maintain a family focus. There is a temporary suspension of furloughs and off-site visits for 30 days and on-site family visits will be limited to parents, guardians and children of committed youth.
  • Increased staffing at the facility.
  • A request to judges to consider a 10-day hiatus from juvenile commitments to Kearney to help stabilize the number of youth in care and ensure current safety.
  • Increased requirements for twice-daily leadership communication and accountability at each shift change, and communicated action plan details and expectations with all teammates.




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