County Adopts New Policy for Troubled Juvenile Center

News 8 WISH-TV/February 15, 2002
By Karen Hensel

Marion County's Juvenile Court will temporarily stop sending children to a troubled youth center. This morning's decision comes after a meeting of several judges.

Last week, the News8 I-Team told you about allegations of abuse at the Indianapolis Training Center. The ITC is a faith-based juvenile center now under investigation by the state's Family and Social Services Administration. There are allegations of solitary confinement and spankings at ITC.

Juvenile Court Judge James Payne had been giving parents the option of sending children there instead of the Girls School or the Boys School. But, today, the Judge's Executive Committee asked Judge Payne to temporarily stop referring children to the center during the investigation. He agreed.

Judge Cynthia Ayers says she has no "personal observations of that facility" and has never visited it. She says, "this is something that's been going on for 10 years in a relationship with the Juvenile Court ... Until we know what the details are, we can't form any opinions."

Judge Payne says, "any time a child is harmed or injured it's cause for reflection to look at what's going on and try to make it better and that's what we'll do in this case." When asked whether he has any information about children being harmed at ITC, the judge said: "there may be some wrong things that I need to look at and investigate and the report from FSSA may give further light on that."

The report from the state should be finished within the next 90 days. The leaders of the training center have made it clear that they will have no further comment on the matter until the investigation is wrapped up.

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