Del. Division of Youth Rehab Services suspends visitation in wake of Covid 19 outbreak

WILMINGTON – The Delaware Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services (YRS) is temporarily suspending visitation to its Level IV and V secure facilities effective immediately in the wake of Delaware’s first presumptive positive coronavirus cases.

The Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services, which is under the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, is the leading juvenile justice agency serving youth ordered to rehabilitative services through the judicial system.

YRS secure facilities include the New Castle County Detention Center, Stevenson House Detention Center, Ferris School and the Residential Cottages. Between the secure facilities, the division currently cares for close to 100 youth.

“We are taking immediate action to protect our youth and staff from any potential spread of the coronavirus,” said Josette Manning, secretary of the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families. “We thank our families for their patience and understanding during this time. This situation evolves every day, and we are taking necessary measures to safeguard our facilities while continuing to provide needed services to our youth. We continue to work with health officials and our partners in the juvenile justice community.”

During this time, the Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services will offer phone and video calls for its youth to ensure they remain in contact with their families. The division will continue to serve youth and meet their rehabilitative needs with core programming, which includes education and counseling.

YRS will work with its medical provider and the Delaware Division of Public Health on best health practices and precautionary measures, and will adapt accordingly as the division receives more guidance and information.

DOC temporarily suspends visitation due to coronavirus

DOVER – The Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) announced that starting today it is temporarily suspending visitation to all of its Level V prison and Level IV work release and violation of probation facilities as a precaution to protect inmates and staff from coronavirus (Covid 19).

These measures come as state authorities announced Wednesday the first presumptive positive coronavirus diagnosis in Delaware and is part of ongoing efforts to minimize the risk of community spread of the virus to DOC facilities.

“The health and safety of our staff, visitors and the individuals under our supervision is our first priority and we are temporarily suspending inmate visitation as a necessary step to reduce the risk of this illness entering and spreading within our facilities,” said Commissioner Claire DeMatteis. “We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of family members and others who are impacted by this temporary measure.”

Visitation is being suspended temporarily until the DOC implements enhanced screening measures. The DOC currently offers a variety of phone and video visitation to inmates in order to facilitate family and community support that is important to their wellbeing. While visitation is suspended, the DOC will increase the use of video visitation as available in its facilities.

In January 2020, the DOC initiated screening of symptoms of respiratory illness for inmates, staff and volunteers as a precaution during the annual flu season.  At that time, the DOC also began screening inmates at intake for recent travel outside the continental U.S. in recognition of the spread of coronavirus in China.

In late February, even as incidents of the flu trended downward within its facilities, the DOC expanded these screening measures to all visitors as an early precaution against coronavirus. DOC will continue to reassess its prevention measures on an ongoing basis.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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