Columbia Girls Secure Center

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Columbia Secure Center for Girls is located in the Hudson Valley region of New York State, southeast of the City of Hudson. There are two connected living units on campus -- Opportunity Wing and Liberty Wing -- each housing a maximum of eight youth. The living units are connected to a dining hall, kitchen, education and medical area and administration offices. A second building contains the gymnasium, library and a classroom.

The youth served are juvenile offenders/youth offenders who, while under the age of 16, committed certain designated felonies and were convicted and sentenced in adult criminal court. Depending upon the youth's sentence, these youth may remain in OCFS placement up to 21 years of age.

In addition, juvenile delinquents under the jurisdiction of the family court may also be placed at Columbia if they have been reassigned or "fennered" from a limited secure facility for violent behavior. Juvenile delinquents may remain in OCFS custody up to the age of 18 depending on their placement order. Youth adjudicated as restricted juvenile delinquents generally range in age from 13 to 21. This facility is accredited by the American Correctional Association.


Counseling: A youth counselor and clinician work collaboratively with a support team and the youth to coordinate an individual support plan for each youth. This plan includes goals and treatment strategies to address individual skill acquisition, growth and development in various interpersonal and program areas, family involvement and release planning. The entire treatment team process is monitored by the Assistant Director for Treatment Services.

As part of the treatment process, various group sessions are conducted by the youth counselors, clinicians and/or Youth Division Aides (YDA’s). Individual counseling sessions focus on specific treatment goals and are conducted by counselors a minimum of once a week. Additionally, each youth is assigned a clinician who also provides weekly counseling. YDA’s and other program staff are involved in individual counseling through their daily contact with youth. Weekly mentoring is also provided by an assigned YDA.

Education: The facility provides educational programming for youth according to New York State Education Department requirements. The Committee on Special Education (CSE) addresses special education needs for classified students and Individual Education Programs (IEPs) are developed for students with disabilities. State assessments, including Regents Examinations and Regents Competency Tests, are also provided to eligible students. Qualifying youth may also enroll in the Alternative High School Education Programs and pursue a Testing Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC). Opportunities involving collaboration with several community colleges may permit students to take some college coursework.

Academic and vocational courses are offered so students can earn credits which can be applied toward a high school diploma upon a student’s return to a community school. Students also complete a “portfolio,” which provides a summary of relevant documentation, outlines work history, any certifications earned, and experiences gained.

Vocational Opportunities: Instructors provide trade skills training in technology, computers, keyboarding, and food service.

Health Services: Comprehensive health services are provided by licensed health professionals. Registered nurses are on duty during day and evening shifts seven days a week. A nurse practitioner provides primary medical care and a physician visits the facility twice a month.

Upon admission, each youth has a comprehensive health assessment and an initial plan of care is developed. Immunizations are brought up to date following current public health recommendations. Eye care is also provided on site.  Dental services are provided at the OCFS dental clinic in Rensselaer, New York.

Nursing sick call occurs daily. Nurses refer health problems that cannot be addressed via routine nursing interventions to the nurse practitioner or facility physician. Health staff initiate or continue needed health services via scheduled follow-up appointments.

Mental Health: Mental health treatment is delivered by a team of psychologists, licensed social workers and clinical nurses. A psychiatrist is also is assigned to the facility. Access to professional level care is provided for all youth.

Assessment services include mental health and substance abuse assessment, evaluation of sex offense treatment needs, psycho-educational evaluation and neuro-psychological assessment. Treatment services include crisis evaluation and intervention, individual/group/family therapy, mental health treatment planning and mental health discharge planning. In instances where psychiatric hospitalization is needed, clinicians facilitate the placement and serve as the facility liaison to the hospital during the youth’s stay.

Recreational Opportunities: Recreational programming is provided to encourage personal confidence, build self-esteem, support sportsman-like conduct and provide opportunities for productive use of leisure time. Recreational activities include arts and crafts, hobbies, games, physical fitness and sporting events.

Religious Services: A Chaplain coordinates religious services to provide for the various religious denominations of the youth. Additional religious activities and services are conducted by volunteers from the community.

Visitation: Families are vital to the treatment for youth in placement and are encouraged to visit on weekends. Special arrangements are made for week day visits as requested by the family.

Special Programs and Community Partnerships: Columbia offers a number of recreational opportunities via community partnerships that include pet therapy, arts and crafts, cosmetology sessions and music therapy.

Pre-Release Orientation: Release planning begins at intake. The facility support team members work closely with residents, parents and community support team (CST) members to ensure that residents and their families receive the support needed for a timely and successful return to the community.

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