Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Juvenile Justice Services (DJJS) is announcing the American Correctional Association (ACA) has awarded the Sununu Youth Services Center (SYSC) national accreditation. DJJS has been working to achieve this prestigious certification for the past three years. SYSC, located in Manchester, was completed and opened in 2006.
The ACA is a nationally recognized organization that sets standards for juvenile and adult correctional facilities. Accreditation is achieved through a series of reviews, evaluations, surveys and audits. Some of the benefits of accreditation include: increase of community support, assessment of a facility’s strengths and weaknesses, identification of obtainable goals, implementation of state-of-the-art policies and procedures, and establishment of specific guidelines for daily operations.
“We are honored to receive this distinction,” said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. “This is yet another positive step in improving outcomes for youth in our care and goes hand in hand with the recent culture change at SYSC from a focus on corrections to a focus on treatment and rehabilitation. The fact that we were able to achieve accreditation during what has been extremely challenging economic times is a credit to the leadership and dedication of the staff at SYSC.”
In order to be awarded certification the facility being audited must be in 100% compliance of the mandatory standards, which total 31, and 80% compliance of the non-mandatory standards, which total 417. The standards address life, health and safety needs, as well as programming services, the physical plant, personnel, and operational issues. The ACA Commission found SYSC in compliance with 100% of the mandatory standards and 98.5% of the non-mandatory standards.
“This accomplishment underscores the high-quality services we already provide to our youth,” said DJJS Director Bill Fenniman. “Less than 10% of all Juvenile facilities in the country are accredited so being recognized as one of the finest and most professional in the US is a tremendous honor for the staff and for the State of New Hampshire. We could not have done as well as we did without the support of Governor Lynch, Commissioner Toumpas, and Deputy Commissioner Cooney.”