Baldwin Youth Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 1135
Robertsdale, Alabama 36567
Baldwin Youth Services, Inc. is a private, non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization existing since 1977, with a group home for boys, a group home for girls and a crisis center. The crisis center, known as the Janice W. Hendrickson Intervention Center is located in Robertsdale, as is the White-Battey Group Home for Boys. The Sylvia Mattingly-Judge Phyllis S. Nesbit Group Home for Girls is located in Silverhill. All three homes are licensed by the State Department of Human Resources.
Baldwin Youth Services is a United Way of Baldwin County partner agency.
A Board of Directors established the homes and purposes for them and hires the Director. The board meets five times yearly. Ms. Sue Joy is the Director. She hold a Master’s degree in social work and has over forty years of experience in the field. She hires the staff for all three homes. Inquiries about admissions may be directed to Ms. Joy or any staff member answering the telephone at 947-5149.
Intervention Center: Children at the Intervention Center may be placed by social workers from any county Department of Human Resource (DHR) in Alabama, the Baldwin County Juvenile Court Judge, any Baldwin County Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO), or a Baldwin County parent/legal custodian.
The length of stay for a foster child placed by DHR is up to thirty days. The length of stay for a child placed by a parent/legal custodian or juvenile probation officer is seventy-two hours. The court may place for as long as needed.
The Intervention Center is licensed to provide care for children from birth through age seventeen. The Center cannot accept children who are presently suicidal or pregnant, are currently on probation due to a committing a crime, or have a communicable disease, head lice or nits.
The Center has around-the-clock awake staff working in shifts. The Center is not considered a secured facility since there are no bars on the windows and doors. There is no guarantee a child cannot run away; however there are alarms on the windows and doors and the Robertsdale Police are quick to respond when a child attempts to run away.
The Center has eight bedrooms, each with a private bath. Each child has a separate bedroom unless foster siblings of the same sex prefer to share the same bedroom.
Children placed by the court, JPO officers, and parents/legal custodians are placed due to incorrigible behaviors, such as disobedience, defiance, truancy, running away, or underage drinking, for which a Child in Need of Supervision (CHINS) petition has been or could be filed. Those children serve their seventy-two-hour stay on privilege suspension.
Privilege suspension means the child comes out of his room only to eat all meals and nighttime snack by himself and to attend school. He only has a twin bed, a chair and a Bible in his room. The Bible will be removed at the parent’s/legal custodian’s request. After the child is instructed to make up his bed, which must be done to Baldwin Youth Services standards, he is not allowed to sit or lie on the bed again until it is time for lights out at 9 p.m. each day. For a child age twelve or older who has never been to court, after a day in care, the child is fully informed of what it would be like to go to court under a Child in Need of Supervision (CHINS) petition, the rules of probation, and what could happen if he violates probation, including being placed at the Boys Home or Girls Home or a wilderness program called Camp Horizon. He is encouraged to write an appropriate letter of apology to the parent/legal custodian, which will be read to the parent and given back to the child to give to his parent upon discharge.
The child is encouraged to change his behaviors once he is back home so that the parents will not have to take the next step of filing a CHINS petition against him.
It has been determined through experience the optimum amount of time for a child to be placed by a parent to try to affect his behavior is three days. Less or more time is not as effective. The program has been every effective with children who believed their parents would follow through with the CHINS petition. It is a waste of money for children who know their parents will not follow through.
The parent places a child under a boarding home agreement. The cost is forty dollars per twenty-four hour period. A sliding-scale fee may be applied if the parent presents proof of the total family income, including child support and social security and SSI benefits. The family income includes everyone’s income living in the house, regardless of the relationship.
Parents/legal custodians are only allowed to place a child once on a BHA if the child is age twelve or older. They must follow through with the CHINS petition and have the JPO call for placement thereafter.
Foster children who are accepted into the Intervention Center should be brought wearing an appropriate outfit for going out into the community. All children at the Center dress in uniforms provided by Baldwin Youth Services during their placement. The Center does not have room to store the children’s clothing or belongings. Any child placed by JPO or parent/legal custodian has the outfit he arrives in washed and put away for him to wear out upon discharge.
All toiletry items the child will need while in placement, including toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, comb, soap, shampoo, and hair conditioner are provided by Baldwin Youth Services. A child is not allowed to bring in any personal items except his school-issued laptop and medications.
A child’s medications must be delivered in the prescription bottle with the child’s name on the prescription bottle. Medications may only be given as directed on the bottle. The child’s social worker or parent/legal custodian is notified if the child becomes ill or is about to run out of medications. The social worker or parent/legal custodian is responsible for the cost of all medications. The social worker or parent/legal custodian must transport the child to any doctor or counseling appointments.
Foster children may make one phone call per night as allowed by the social worker. Foster children may have on-site or off-campus visits as directed by the child’s social worker. Children placed by JPO or parents/legal custodians for a seventy-two-hour placement are not allowed phone calls or visits, however, a parents may call at any time of the day or night to check with the staff about how his child is doing.
Foster children may participate in activities that are not allowed for children placed by parents, the court, or juvenile probation officers. Those activities include on-site basketball and volleyball, board and card games, puzzles, arts and crafts, movie time, outdoor outings, and church attendance.
A certified teacher provided by the Baldwin County Board of Education has a school on site. A child placed is to remain enrolled in his present school regardless of where it is in Alabama. The Center’s teacher will coordinate with the child’s school regarding the child’s courses of study and will fax the attendance and grades to the child’s school upon the child’s discharge. The child is counted as present at his home school each day he is in while he is in attendance at the Center’s school. If a child is enrolled in a private or home-schooling program, he cannot attend the on-site school during placement, since the teacher is a public school employee.
Parent and Child Training Classes: Dr. Larry Faison, clinical psychologist, conducts a series of eight, free, one-hour parenting classes, Parent and Child Training (PACT), on Monday evenings. The classes are open to the public and begin at 6 p.m. at the Boys Home. A family may join at any time as each class stands alone. The child is to attend with the parent. At the beginning of the classes, Dr. Faison has each child to stand, give his name, and state the behaviors that resulted in the child’s being there to hold the child accountable for his actions. Dr. Faison then teaches the class, followed by time for questions and discussion.
Boys Home and Girls Home: The Boys Home and Girls Home programs are designed as a community-based corrections program to keep children near family and in public school. Each of the homes may have up to eight children in residence. Each child has a private bedroom with a bathroom. A house parent lives on site and overseas the program for the home.
All of the children in the Boys Home and Girls Home must be ordered there by the Baldwin County Juvenile Judge due to a CHINS (Child in Need of Supervision) petition filed by the child’s parent/legal custodian. A child who commits a criminal act has a delinquency petition filed against him, whereas a child who has not committed a criminal act but has done such things as running away from home, disrespecting, disobeying and defying parental authority, skipping school, or being caught in possession of alcoholic beverages may have a CHINS petition filed on him. The homes cannot accept children adjudicated as delinquent for committing a crime.
A child placed at the Boys Home or Girls Home stays the first weekend at the Home on privilege suspension. After that the child may earn weekend passes home by following the rules at the Boys Home or Girls Home, appropriately doing his assigned chores, making acceptable grades, and not getting a write-up at school. If the child does not earn a weekend pass home, he must remain at the Home on privilege suspension the entire weekend.
When a child is home on a weekend pass, he is not allowed to go off with friends or have friends over, as he is to be working on re-establishing appropriate behavior in the home and with his family members during the weekend passes.
Youth at the home are not allowed visits with parents during the weekdays; however the child may send and receive mail from his parent/legal custodian. If the child does not earn a weekend pass home, the parent/legal custodian may schedule to visit with the child on the weekend for one hour at the Home.
The minimum stay at the Boys Home or Girls Home is four months. The actually length of stay thereafter depends on the child’s behaviors at the Boys Home or Girls Home as well as at his own home while on weekend passes. The stay can be extended up to a year or more.
A child placed at the Boys Home or Girls Home provides his own clothing and toiletry items, but the clothing and toiletry items must meet Baldwin Youth Services standards. Toiletry items cannot contain alcohol. The child washes his own clothing items while in residence. He has assigned chores to do each week in addition to keeping his own room clean.
A child is not allowed to bring any electronic devises into the Boys Home or Girls Home unless he has a school-assigned laptop. Any cell phones or other electronic devises sneaked into either home will be confiscated and will not be returned to the child or family. A parent/legal custodian is obligated by the terms of the child’s probation to report any violation of rules by the child, which includes the child’s making cell phone calls, sending e-mail messages, or any other form of communication with them while in the Boys Home or Girls Home.
All residents attend either Central Baldwin Middle School, Robertsdale High School or the C. F. Taylor Alternative School. Any child who does not have Robertsdale High School or Central Baldwin Middle School as his base school must be withdrawn for his school on the day of court or by the following morning. The Home’s house parent will then enroll the child at the appropriate school for the Robertsdale area. One hour of study time is required daily after school. If the child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) at school, the parent is encouraged to participate along with the house parent in the planning.
Parents of children placed at the Boys Home or Girls Home are expected to attend and complete the Parent and Child Training classes. The child attends with the parent. On Tuesday evenings the youth attends group counseling provided by Baldwin Youth Services to deal with day-to-day issues they face.
After the child has been in care for a few weeks, the parent will be asked to meet in person or over the telephone with the house parent and the social worker to set up the child’s individualized service plan. During that planning period, goals will be set to overcome the problem areas that brought the child to court. Steps will be set forth on how to reach the goals along with a time frame for meeting the goals for the child to be successfully discharged.
Once in care, the parent must coordinate all appointments for the child through the house parent. If the appointment necessitates the parent’s having to pick up the child at school, the Home’s house parent must notify the school and give permission for the child to be released to the parent. The parent is not to be contacting the child in any way except through the house parent.
If the child or parent fails to cooperate and work toward the goals, the child will be unsuccessfully discharged. His probation officer will then file a violation of probation petition against the child and he will be taken back before the judge for failure to follow the court’s order. The child will then be placed elsewhere, probably Camp Horizon.