PARK SLOPE — The arrest of three teen residents of a Park Slope group home on rape charges has led to the closing of a second residence in the neighborhood, officials said Thursday.
Boys Town will shutter a group home it runs on St. John's Place because the youth services provider is ending its contract with the city's Administration for Children's Services, a representative for ACS told Community Board 6's youth committee on Thursday night.
Boys Town had already closed its group home at 289 Sixth Ave. following the arrest of three teen residents June 1 for the alleged rape and robbery of a woman in Chinatown. A staff member at the home was arrested June 11 on charges that he falsified records saying the teens were at the home on the night of the alleged attack.
Boys Town and ACS announced together this week that Boys Town will end its contract with the agency, ProPublica first reported.
Boys Town will close all six of its group homes in the city, including another in Park Slope at 240 St. John's Place. The young people that lived there will be moved to other homes, an ACS spokesman said.
The Boys Town group homes were part of the city and state's Close to Home program, an initiative launched in 2012 to keep juvenile offenders near their families and schools and away from prison-like detention centers upstate.
Close to Home was meant to prevent young people who've been arrested from becoming alienated from their communities, but it's suffered some challenges, ProPublica reported. A home run by New York Foundling was shut down after a teen resident ran away in 2013 and allegedly stabbed a man to death.
An ACS spokesman said the agency is increasing monitoring of all Close to Home facilities in the wake of the rape arrests.
There are about 140 young people in the Close to Home program right now, an ACS official told Community Board 6's youth committee on Thursday night.
“New York City has a long standing partnership with Boys Town and we appreciate all of their hard work,” an ACS spokesman said.
A third facility in Park Slope that's part of the Close to Home program will remain open. It's run by the nonprofit Good Shepherd Services and has beds for 12 boys at a facility near Ninth Street and Fourth Avenue.
Boys Town's departure from the Close to Home program was in part related to a philosophical difference over working with juvenile offenders, a spokesman said. ACS recently changed its policy to require group home providers to detain kids who run away, a method that Boys Town doesn't use, a Boys Town spokesman said.
An ACS spokesman said the policy wasn't a new one, and that it was in put in place near the beginning of the Close to Home program.
“Boys Town believes strongly that love is a powerful tool to provide at-risk children with healing and hope. While new requirements in New York no longer fit our core values and do not allow us to run our Family Home Program as we have in other places, Boys Town will continue to provide quality, research-proven services to children in New York and across the country,” Boys Town youth care director Dr. Dan Daly said in a statement.