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Juvenile counselors furious over closure of treatment facility

KEARNS – The sudden closure of a facility designed to help juvenile offenders re-enter society has former employees crying “foul.”

 

The ARTEC facility has two programs designed to help teens.  One is a day program, where students come to classes and therapy sessions.  The other is a residential program where teens slowly integrate back with their families over a period of time.  Employees with the residential side knew their department would close, but, they were told that wouldn’t happen for a couple months.  Unit Manager Cara Stewart says, “They said every client would continue treatment as planned, even if there is just one client remaining, however long that took.”

But, Stewart says she came to work to find her security keys no longer worked and she had no access to any of the files in the facility.  Taylor Berhow says she was also one of the employees who were “voluntarily terminated.”  However, she says, “It wasn’t very ‘voluntary’ because they came in and cleaned out my locker without my consent, removed my belongings and took them from her, ARTEC, to the HR department.”

Officials with Valley Behavioral Health say there were other agencies the organization partners with that were a big factor in the closing.  Doctor Todd Thatcher, VBH Chief Medical Officer, says juvenile justice officials have a say on how cases are managed, and they’ve received different instructions recently from state lawmakers.

However, Thatcher says, “We never did renege on any promises to keep kids going and treat them with all professionalism.”  He adds that their treatment is still going to continue, but he couldn’t say where.

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