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Devereux’s Response to Issues of Resident Safety

(Spanish language version here.)

The recent incidents reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer are heartbreaking and unacceptable, and we must always ensure we’ve learned from the past and are constantly driving change in our organization and industry. Although these incidents were all properly reported, it does not take away from their impact and the significance of this issue across our industry. We commend those who have used their platform to shed light on an industry-wide problem that we, at Devereux, are working hard to address.

In 2018, we began putting into place industry-leading processes and technologies to prevent any form of systemic abuse, which included launching an organizational redesign initiative, and raising direct care and supervisory staff compensation to be the highest in Pennsylvania.

Our parents and valued partners at regulatory agencies, and in law enforcement, have recognized our policies, trainings, and investments, including our un-matched use of video cameras, as the most advanced in the field. As a result, Devereux is able to flag incidents of abusive behavior and notify authorities immediately, rather than allow illicit behavior to go unnoticed and unreported. We have invested more than $30 million annually in safety-related capital improvements, comprehensive video monitoring technologies and increased direct care and supervisory staff pay – all aimed at ensuring safe and compassionate programs. We knew that the journey would be difficult, and the results would not be immediate, but we are encouraged to see that, because of these efforts, major risk events in our organization have decreased 43 percent between the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years.

In addition to these advancements, our Board led us in retaining former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, in her role as partner at the firm of Paul, Weiss, to conduct an independent audit regarding safety measures at our children’s programs. We are looking forward to the conclusion of that introspective audit so we can create an even safer environment for the children in our care and provide a roadmap for the rest of the industry to follow, as well.

Organizational change does not happen overnight, but we are moving in the right direction, and at a rapid pace, to reflect the urgency of the situation. Devereux is committed to helping children and families who have experienced significant trauma. This group is chronically underserved not just in Pennsylvania, but across the United States. We seek to instill in our workforce a culture of transparency and accountability, combined with a true devotion to safety, quality and continuous service improvement.

As part of keeping this commitment, we will not forget the events of the past for which we apologize and will remain steadfast in our responsibility to do everything in our power to prevent future incidences from happening under our watch. At Devereux, we will embrace every opportunity to push harder, to do better, and to be of true service to those who need us.

 

Latest News

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Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Vice President of Operations Gwen Skinner was recently selected as one of the Child Welfare League of America’s “100 Champions for Children.”

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Emily Judovits and Joey Baumgart credit Devereux Pennsylvania’s Community Adult Autism Partnership Program, which provides individualized and innovative community-based support services for adults with autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities, with teaching them essential job and social skills, and helping them thrive in the community.

Worcester Railers Hockey   OurSports Central article spotlights hockey club’s pizza donation to Devereux Massachusetts/Rhode Island staff

Read this OurSports Central article spotlighting the Worcester Railers Hockey Club’s pizza donation to front-line staff at Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The hockey club, a minor league affiliate of the New York Islanders, delivered pizzas to more than 120 team members and students as part of its “Hockey Feeds the Need” program.

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When Isaac Hammond sets a goal for himself, all those around the 34-year-old know it is only a matter of time before he will achieve success. Hammond, who is enrolled in Devereux New Jersey’s community employment program, recently celebrated his two-year anniversary of continuous employment.

Daisy Shop   VISTA Today article spotlighting Devereux’s Daisy Shop

Read this VISTA Today article spotlighting The Daisy Shop - part of The Shops at Devereux. The Shops, located in Devon, Pa., is a licensed vocational training center comprised of several specialized workshops that function as small businesses. Founded in 1962, the program provides individuals with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences the opportunity to learn valuable and marketable skills in a realistic work environment.

Mory Alvarez   Devereux California’s Mory Alvarez to retire after 40-plus years of service

After 44 years of exceptional leadership and service, Devereux California Quality Management Manager Mory Alvarez is officially retiring in February 2021, although she plans to continue working part-time for the center in another role.

Donna Underwood   Celebrating Devereux’s Healthcare Heroes: Spotlight on Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS Information System Specialist Donna Underwood

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