To Our Community:
Last week we announced a difficult decision to voluntarily and temporarily close our Residential Treatment Program to evaluate its future. The decision was based upon operational and compliance concerns that have been identified by the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) and our own internal review. Our other programs, including our K-12 Therapeutic Day Treatment School and Community Based Services, are not impacted by the residential closure, and are thriving and in good standing with their regulatory agencies.
The operational and compliance concerns we discovered are due to many factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and resulted in significant dysregulation and increases in the severity of the trauma experienced by the children we serve. Additionally, most children in residential programs similar to the residential program at Tennyson Center have been through many failed placements including failed foster care, kinship placements and adoptive homes. In fact, foster youth average 8.3 placements during their time in the child welfare system (CAFCA 2019). Tennyson Center has served Colorado’s most neglected, abused, and traumatized children since 1904 and the level of trauma and acuity when these children arrive on our campus is significant.
However, we must do better as the concerns reflect that our operations were not meeting the high standard of care we demand and expect of ourselves.
While the children in our Residential Program make up approximately 13% of children we serve annually, this was still an incredibly difficult decision to make. As of March 23, the Residential Program closure will affect 12 children, nine of whom are already scheduled to be placed in biological, foster, adoptive or kinship homes. We have invested additional resources to ensure the children’s safety while they remain on our campus, and we will make extensive efforts to work with our partners in the various counties to place the remaining children in appropriate and safe homes in collaboration with their external treatment teams. We are in the midst of an intensive evaluation to determine if and when we will reopen our Residential Program, a process which may take anywhere from 60-90 days. At the heart of this decision is the health and safety of the children and families we serve. Please know this decision was not made easily.
Our evaluation is centered around assessing how we can utilize our resources to best serve the needs of Colorado’s most vulnerable and at-risk children and families. We must explore whether we should direct dollars toward programs other than residential, such as our prevention and early intervention services in the community and assess whether that investment may serve a greater need and impact more children and families than re-opening a residential program. We are approaching this as an opportunity to ensure that the Tennyson Center for Children carries on its 117 year legacy of serving those most in need.
While I know this news will be disappointing to some of you, I firmly believe that Tennyson has the opportunity to emerge from this challenge as a stronger, more impactful organization that serves more children and families in even better ways.
Interim President & CEO