Media coverage of CRH & CPSU

Dear Friends,

The Sacramento Bee published two front page stories based on reports to state regulators of behavioral incidents at CRH across a span of 10 years. One article erroneously reported that a teenager who suffered a paralyzing injury in a freeway accident was ‘AWOL’ from CRH at the time — although she actually was not in the care of CRH then. The Receiving Home had nothing whatsoever to do with her accident. The Bee at the request of CRH has acknowledged this significant error and provided extensive corrections* to this and other misleading pieces in its CRH series, which ran between August 29, 2020, and September 5, 2020.

While the trends in incident reports and law enforcement contacts are decreasing, much of the reporting focuses on incidents that occurred between 2012-2018 and relies on interviews with former terminated employees. Transparency and accountability are core values of CRH, and we provided pages of information and responses to the Bee reporters’ inquiries – most of which was not included in the final articles. 

CRH cares for teens and children who have suffered extreme abuse, neglect and trauma at the hands of those who were supposed to love and protect them. Quite often, they deal with trauma by acting out or even running away from our campus. When this happens, we follow them and urge them to return.

California laws and regulations prevent us from locking kids in their rooms or confiscating their cell phones, even when a phone may be used to maintain a relationship with a sex trafficker that existed before the teen came to CRH. Our staff are trained to handle difficult behavioral issues – including youths who lash out at them. Often staff heroically put their personal well-being on the line to care for children.

Although the Bee may compare our incident reports unfavorably with those of other agencies, the Children’s Receiving Home is not comparable to other group homes.

CRH is the only facility of its kind in the entire state. It is both a residential treatment program that provides multiple services to multiple ages and a temporary shelter under county contract. Also, CRH is the only nationally accredited temporary shelter care facility (TSCF) program in the state. This means that CRH is often the only shelter equipped to handle the high degree of trauma and problematic behaviors exhibited by the youth in its care. These youth often have been rejected by other agencies unable to handle their needs. Accordingly, we have emphasized to the Bee that a direct comparison with other youth shelters is misleading and inappropriate. 

A long-planned relocation of Sacramento County’s Centralized Placement Support Unit – which has leased space on our campus for more than 10 years - is expected to alleviate much confusion and conflation of our independent nonprofit with the County’s Child Protective Services function.

We are proud of our 76-year record of serving the region’s abused and neglected children, of our working relationship with state regulators, and of the high praise that reviewers for our national accrediting agency gave us in a site visit this spring. Several former residents, now successful career professionals and parents, have returned to CRH to work as staff members or to serve on our Board of Directors. Many have shared powerful testimonials about how their time with us transformed their lives. Our peer agencies tell that us this level of involvement is impressive and unusual. 

We are required to report behavioral incidents and our resolution of them to our licensing agency (Community Care Licensing, within the state Department of Social Services). These incident reports are regularly reviewed and monitored by our Board of Directors. Our reports to the state are available on a state website, readily accessible to journalists. CRH welcomes the regular visits of state inspectors, headquartered in Sacramento, to our campus. Our administrators closely review our own licensing data, performance measures, and program outcomes to continually improve and better serve our youths.

In addition, we regularly monitor and measure staff performance and take immediate appropriate action if rules and protocols are not followed. Turnover is an ongoing challenge for us, as it is for many organizations serving intensely troubled youth. 

During the past year we implemented several performance and quality improvements, which have now become even more important in the COVID-19 era. During this health and economic crisis, at-risk children are more vulnerable and the role of the Receiving Home is more vital than ever. Team CRH is actively preparing for a potential wave of children in need of our care once schools reopen and teachers and others become more aware of abuses that require reporting. We are working to ensure that we will have dorms, highly trained staff, and programs at the ready to welcome children who have suffered hidden abuses during sheltering-in-place orders. 

We thank you for your support of the youth who need our services, and for taking the time to understand and appreciate the unique role that CRH provides – connecting with youth who have suffered terribly in their young lives through no fault of their own, providing them with individualized trauma-informed care and helping them find their own best path forward. Often, CRH is all that stands between our youth’s well-being and life on the streets, or worse. 

*Sacramento Bee corrections:

 1) A significant revision – most recently on September 15, 2020 — to the online version of its article about the teenager noted above and explained the corrections. The corrections, which included removing “Children’s Receiving Home” from the story’s headline, also were explained on page A2 of the printed version of the paper on September 16, 2020.

 2) Removal of a similarly misleading, 7-minute video about the teenager’s accident that had accompanied the above story on the Bee’s website. 

 3) Corrected errors in an additional story about CRH that originally was posted August 29, 2020, as well as fixed errors in that story’s accompanying photo and video captions. These corrections are explained online at the end of that story and also were explained on page A2 of the printed version of the paper on September 8.

 4) Addition of clarifying information to improve the accuracy of a posted video that accompanies the above story online and removed “Children’s Receiving Home” from that video’s title.

Sincerely yours,

Glynis Butler-Stone, MS, Chief Executive Officer 

Rebecca LaVally, President, Board of Directors