Council: Conditions at Teens’ Group Homes Need State Intervention

Deputy Chief Anthony Haugh

Haverhill city councilors say they fear conditions at three group homes for troubled teens and adolescents are reaching crisis proportions, potentially putting neighbors and the young residents themselves at risk.

The homes, at 4 and 31 S. Kimball St. and at 230 Liberty St., are run by a Danvers-based nonprofit, NFI Massachusetts, under a contract with the state Department of Children and Families. All three homes are co-ed and serve children ages 12 to 18. In total, they have the capacity to house 42 children, most of whom were removed from their family homes because of abuse and neglect.

Deputy police Chief Anthony Haugh told city councilors that the number of police service calls to the three homes have increased over the past few years, and he estimates the number will exceed 700 this year, based on the number of times police have been called to the homes in the last few months.

Haugh asked City Council to reach out to the homes’ management, as well as state agencies and officials, to try to find ways to curb the number of calls to police. The deputy chief said the majority of calls, as many as 80 percent, are for runaways. The others are for incidents such as fights or medical situations.

Police are concerned about whether the homes are properly staffed and whether residents are being adequately supervised, Haugh said, noting cases of resident-on-resident sexual assault have been reported to police.

“This program needs direct intervention from the state,” said City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan. He called for a meeting including Mayor James J. Fiorentini, the city’s legislative delegation, NFI, and top leadership of the state Division of Children and Families to answer to the issues at the homes and find solutions.

Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua revived a suggestion he made several months ago that NFI hire security at its Haverhill group homes.


6 thoughts on “Council: Conditions at Teens’ Group Homes Need State Intervention

  1. The Police Department discontinued the inclusion of the problems with group homes several months ago, leading residents to believe this problem was resolved. Lo and Behold, THE PROBLEM HAS NOT BEEN SOLVED, IT HAS ONLY GOTTEN WORSE!

    So — was it the Police Chief who decided on his own to discontinue the inclusion of the juvenile runaways and the other issues associated with the group homes in Haverhill? Was it Mr. Mayor who decided it is not necessary for the general population to know what is going on in group homes? Was it the City Council who similarly decided not to include group home problems in the police reports? Was it DCF who threw its weight around and said it is none of our business?

    Shame on everyone for not looking into this sooner, and for the Police Chief not to cry “Uncle” before this situation got out of hand. So what now????

  2. There are many more group homes in Haverhill. Most are in good single family neighborhoods. They are allowed to locate wherever they want without any local permission or notification of the direct ab-utters.
    This needs to change

    • There are 33+ group homes in HAVERHILL. What I want to know is….. Is this another instance where the DCF and the group homes that service these kids just place these homes anywhere they want? AND WHY HAVERHILL? What is it about Haverhill that attracts these homes? Do the Mayor and City Council encourage these homes? What recourse do we have with respect to limiting the number of group homes in Haverhill (if any)?

      Who is going to pay for all of this — other than the overly burdened taxpayer, that is? If the family is on public assistance, are their payments diminished as a result of these kids being pulled out of the parental home? What is the profile of these “kids”? What are CITY LEADERS doing about this? Where does the Attorney General stand on this? Or is she too busy with nonsense to deal with this important issue.

      Don’t forget, they — the correctional department — also wants to place a Pre-Release home in HAVERHILL! And who is going to chase those folks around should it become necessary????? Will we be forced to pay for this also?

  3. Sad state of affairs. It is also sad that we have gotten to the point in out country monies to help combat this problem can no longer be spent in any area that has a religious connection. For decades, there were places run by churches that would take in these kids and give them a stable home until other options be came available. I remember some of those facilities and they did a wonderful job taking these kids off the streets. They were not interested in profits but instead they cared about the kids and their futures.

  4. To properly analyze this problem questions needs to be asked….who are these kids, why are there so many of them, and how did they end up in this situation? All indications are this is yet another end result of continued out of control liberalism at work in Massachusetts.

    >Dysfunctional families as a result of drugs flowing into the country over open southern borders
    >Kids from families who very existence is financed by cradle to grave government social welfare programs
    >Offspring of criminal trespassers who came to this country illegally
    >Family turmoil/stress as a result of the loss of parental economic means to support a family resulting from job loss do to the government H1-B Visa program or companies leaving for other countries because of outrageous capital gains taxes in the USA

    Under the care of the Department of Children and Families 35 kids died in just the past year in Massachusetts. This is not an uncommon occurrence in this state. And now, Haverhill is on the verge of experiencing such a tragedy.

    Where has the leadership been in Haverhill? Haverhill State Rep Linda Dean-Campbell is the Co-Chairman of the State Legislature’s Committee on Public Safety. There is no way she isn’t aware of this ongoing individual and community public safety crisis. But what has she done? This is not a new issue….the problems from these homes has been reported many times over the past couple of years. While these kids are in crisis, and cops are working their butts off to deal with it all, Dean-Campbell has been hard at work introducing a “Bathroom Bill” to advocated for transgenders, and recently introduced legislation to protect dogs and cats at MSPCA’s throughout Massachusetts.

    If you vote for Democrat politicians in Haverhill, or the State level, this is what your vote gets you.

  5. Good thing City Council approved of building more apartments in that area. The area is already turning into a shithole, may as well put the final nail in.

    NFI will surely also be a recipient of some of those budget proposal monies released yesterday by Rep. Brian Dempsey. “Non-profits” like NFI clearly putting their personal profit over not only the clients they serve, but the communities they operate in. Their Glassdoor/Indeed reviews are also priceless, looks like they pay employees to be members of the “working poor” class. What a great business model and partnership with the community.

    The CEO of course, as per norm, sent a several thousand dollars to leadership pols on Beacon Hill (i.e. DeLeo, Murray, and of course Brian Dempsey). Can’t blame him, especially if he gets some of those subsidized tax dollars. Meanwhile, Mayor Jimmy’s non-stop efforts to “Keep Haverhill Poor Again” campaign should be proud to have NFI in the city, you know, attracting businesses of such high esteem.

    You know who I feel bad for? The cops. Who probably have to expand their resources continually for the same problems, with the same shit-stirrers that NFI serves and does nothing to help. Unfortunately their calls for service will probably only increase to that section once the apartments are up. The vision by Mayor Jimmy of crunching as many poor humans in a worsening conditioned area should do wonders for the cops already swamped by OD’s.

    Looking at their BoD (and their campaign finance records), don’t expect too much help and/or change.

    Profits > People #CronyCapitalism