By Charisma L. Miller, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A request by a New York City agency that an at-risk teen, who has repeatedly run away from Brooklyn group homes, be transferred to a more secured facility has been granted.
Tilar M, a juvenile delinquent who has been diagnosed with ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder, was placed in custody of the New York City Administration for Children Services (ACS). ACS, charged with protecting the city’s youth, partnered with the New York Foundling charity and placed Tilar M., in a non-secure facility to be housed and supervised. Tilar M., escaped from the facility and was arrested after being AWOL for 14 days.
After his arrest, and at the request of his mother, Tilar M was placed in Boys Town, a non-secure housing facility on 6th Avenue in Park Slope. Having left Boys Town without permission, Tilar M. was again placed in another non-secure group in Park Slope — this time the Boys Town Close to Home Initiative.
According to court documents, the Close to Home Initiative is staffed by a resident "married couple" who lived on the first floor of the house, and Tilar M and five other juvenile delinquents resided in bedrooms located on the second floor. Agency staff and the juveniles shared common areas of the house.
Tilar M was seen regularly by a staff counselor and was prescribed psychotropic drugs, but Tilar refused to take them. Attempting to escape, he was placed on a safety hold, which included placing him in physical restraints until he successfully escaped this facility.
ACS filed a motion in Queens Family court — recognizing that ACS and related facilities were “unable to consistently provide services and supervision to `Tilar M,’” — requesting that the youth be transferred to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to be placed in a secure setting.
Tilar M “poses a danger to himself and to the community, and he is in need of intensive treatment and supervision,” ACS argued in its motion.
OCFS and Tilar M’s attorney disagreed with ACS’ assessment and assertions, arguing in turn that a sufficient change of circumstances has not occurred enough to warrant a transfer. New York state law requires that a sufficient change of circumstances must be presented prior to a transfer of placement or a modification of a prior order from Family Court.
Continued placement of Tilar M in an ACS or ACS-related facility is not “feasible,” ruled Queens Family Court Judge John Hunt. Tilar M is “beyond the control of the agencies with which he has been placed, and his continuation in a non-secure setting will lead to further unauthorized absences with concomitant disruptions in his treatment program,” Hunt noted.
“[Tilar M’s] refusal to remain at the three non-secure agency facilities where he was placed by ACS, his history of running away … [and] his refusal to cooperate with treatment for his psychological conditions,” established a sufficient change in circumstances, Hunt ruled.
Given the facts of the case, Hunt found Tilar M “a person appropriate for transfer of care and custody to [the] New York State Office of Children and Family Services for placement in a limited secure setting.”