State Ends Contract with Private Company Running Youth Services Center for DHS

NOVEMBER 3, 2006 - Posted at 3:55 p.m. CST

ALEXANDER, AR - State officials have ended their contract with Cornell Companies to run the Alexander Youth Services Center.

Spokeswoman Julie Munsell for the state Department of Health and Human Services says a preliminary report shows several problems with the private company's managing of the 143-bed center for juvenile offenders.  Among them, the report says, center staff may have inappropriately administered psychotropic drugs to children, failed to issue policy and failed to properly document medical care.

As an immediate precaution, the Houston-based company was told to stop using psychotropic drugs as medical restraints.  Department director John Selig says the state is no longer confident that Cornell can properly manage the center.  A Cornell spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)