Ramsey County social services authorities said Thursday they are not placing any more boys in the care of Mesabi Academy, a treatment facility in Buhl, Minn., in the wake of an APM Reports investigation into the center.
Updated: 5:51 p.m. | Posted: 10:52 a.m.
Ramsey County social services authorities said Thursday they are not placing any more boys in the care of Mesabi Academy in Buhl, Minn., in the wake of an APM Reports investigation into the private juvenile correctional facility.
Meghan Mohs, Ramsey County Deputy Manager, sent an email to county commissioners this week saying that four boys under the supervision of the county's Child Protective Services would be moving from Mesabi.
"Social services will be holding off on making new placements at Mesabi for the time being," the email said.
The email said the decision was made because social services officials think Mesabi Academy "no longer meets the treatment needs of these children."
But the county late in the day clarified that three of the boys it had placed at Mesabi through its Child Protective Services had already been on a track to leave the facility. A fourth, who had been placed by both Child Protective Services and the county's corrections unit, was discharged this week based on an earlier plan.
Robert Martin, a spokesman for KidsPeace, said one of the three boys in question was pending discharge "based on reaching a limit on what the individual can benefit from the program." Martin said the boy remains at Mesabi while the county seeks another place for him.
Martin said another boy was discharged earlier this week after successfully completing the program, and a third remains at Mesabi but is scheduled for discharge for completing the program successfully. He said KidsPeace is "always ready to work with our partners at the counties, which we serve, to answer any questions and address concerns about the youth they have placed with Mesabi Academy."
A Ramsey County official confirmed Martin's description of the three cases and said the fourth, who was coded in Mesabi's system as a corrections placement, not a social services placement, was discharged this week "based on a plan made weeks ago due to the program not meeting his clinical needs."
In the meantime, a spokesman for Hennepin County said at least 10 judges, social services workers and others are scheduled to take part in a visit to Mesabi Academy on Friday. He also said they plan on interviewing the 20 boys currently placed there from Hennepin County. Two Ramsey County judges are joining that meeting.