December 11, 2019
As feared, VSEA has been noticed by the Department of Human Resources (DHR) that the Scott Administration will be issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) in January to turn the care for some of Vermont’s most vulnerable children over to a private, possibly out-of-state, third party provider. The RFP is to replace the Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center, where VSEA represents 50 dedicated members, representing decades of experience.
From the communication VSEA received from DHR:
Re: Potential Privatization… Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center
This correspondence is to provide you with notice, in accordance with 3 VS.A. § 343 (1 ), that the Department for Children and Families ("DCF") intends to seek proposals from interested parties to provide trauma informed treatment services for youth with serious emotional, behavioral and/or mental health needs. Should DCF enter into a contract, classified positions within VSEA’s bargaining units may be eliminated.
Important: VSEA members and retirees across the board are urged to voice your strong support for the Woodside workers, who, once again, are in the top 99 percentile in terms of quality of care delivered. It’s not their fault the State and lawmakers chose not to invest the funds necessary in their facility, in order to trigger a restoration of lost Medicaid funding. And the census at the facility is no longer zero, as predicted. The question really is “Do Vermonters support ensuring the state maintains its responsibility to provide top-level care to our most vulnerable and at-risk youth?” or are Vermonters willing to turn this service over to a private, possibly out-of-state, third-party vendor?
Please voice your support for the Woodside workers and their very important service and to your local lawmakers and any State officials you may encounter.