First surprise inspections proposed for S.D. youth homes
Gov. Kristi Noem has proposed a major overhaul to how South Dakota oversees, inspects and updates the public about conditions in privately run youth homes across the state. Youth treatment facilities in South Dakota would be subjected to far greater state scrutiny and oversight, and public access to inspection and complaint information would be heightened under a series of reforms proposed by Noem. Among the proposals: more independent inspectors would be hired; inspections would become more frequent and some would be unannounced; and a full-time, independent monitor would be hired solely to hear and review complaints of abuse from facility residents.
“The health and safety of the next generation is our top priority. We cannot let kids fall through the cracks,” Noem said in a December news release announcing the proposed reforms. In late June 2019, Noem ordered the state Department of Social Services to undergo a full review of licensing and inspection practices of all privately run youth facilities in the state.
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