Loose Lips

Jilted Ward 4 Residents Aim to Make DYRS Group Homes A Campaign Issue

Because of nearby drug dealers, Ward 4 resident Melissa Quick doesn't let her daughter hang out in front of their Petworth home. Now, she's worries that their backyard won't be safe either. Quick thinks they could build an addition over the back of the house; her husband wants to get a Doberman pinscher.

The Quicks and dozens of their neighbors are worried about the same thing: a Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services group home that's set to open this week next to the Quicks at 1345 Taylor St. NW, just across the street from Powell Elementary School. Now, with the group home's operator refusing to negotiate with them and the District government citing fair housing law as a reason for its own inability to decide the home's location, the Taylor Street neighbors hope to make group homes across the city an issue in the final month of the mayoral primary.

The neighbors, who don't have a name for their group, insists that this isn't the District's usual NIMBY-ism, looks to contrary aside. There's the proximity to the elementary school, and the drug dealers. Then there's what residents say is a concentration of other social services in the neighborhood. It's a fight puts the residents, many of whom claim they want to help troubled youth in DYRS, at odds with efforts to approve the agency, one with a history of treating its charges so poorly that the agency is under a court-monitored consent decree.

The neighbors (wearing stickers that said "Safety FIRST!"), DYRS director Neil Stanley, and Allieu Kamara from group home operator Life Deeds met Monday at the Petworth library for a discussion led by Ward 4 Councilmember and mayoral hopeful Muriel Bowser. The neighbors brought worries about group homes and GPS monitoring from a PoPville blog post and longtime DYRS watcher Washington Post columnist Colby King.

They also had a proposed voluntary agreement which would include restrictions on the kinds of DYRS wards who could be placed in the group home, a curfew earlier than the proposed 9 p.m., and a promise that the group home's five residents wouldn't enter or leave the property from its back entrance, the closest one to Powell Elementary.

The neighbors were especially worried about the possibility of youth charged with sex offenses staying at the facility. While Stanley says few DYRS youth with sex offense records are assigned to group homes—Bowser, taking a break from the campaign circuit to play  peacemaker, called that issue a "red herring"—the neighbors' proposed voluntary agreement would restrict them from the property anyway.

"I don't want there to be the narrative that's spun out of here that DYRS has all these sex offenders," Stanley told the audience Monday.

Both Stanley and Kamara promise that the facility will be safe and regularly monitored by DYRS, and will also have 24-hour adult supervision. Unluckily for the neighbors, though, neither of them were interested in negotiating the voluntary agreement. A Thursday open house at the group home didn't produce an agreement, either. (DYRS didn't respond to requests for comment).

“I lost complete faith in everybody with a title," Quick says of the elected officials they've asked for help, including Bowser (although Bowser's meeting organizing did lead one woman in the audience to promise to vote for her on April 1).

Bowser declined to comment to LL about the group home's seeming inevitability. Legally, though, she may be out of options. After Bowser inquired last year about the possibility of using a bill to determine where the homes go, the District's Office of the Attorney General warned that any legislation would probably violate fair housing laws, opening the District to "substantial legal concerns."

Mayoral spokesman Pedro Ribeiro echoes Nathan's response—after the city's Office of Contracting and Procurement selects a group home operator, the District can't decide where the home actually goes, according to Ribeiro.

All of that isn't enough for the people who live around Taylor Street, who don't see why the voluntary agreement requirements would break housing laws. Their next step is organizing people who live near other DYRS group homes and trying to win commitments from mayoral hopefuls on the issue. And of course, there's the voluntary agreement. Quick figures she'd have an easier time pressuring a new restaurant or bar than the group home.

"How can this city be so willing to jump through hoops and do that around liquor, but you won’t do that for children you claim you want to help?" Quick says.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • mona

    I don't think it is a coincidence that the mayor went to fundraiser at home of Vincent Abel, right across the street from the group home, and his partner Aaron Hargrove who brokered the deal with Life Deeds for the lease for this very group home. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdWFP51UApM here he is going in talking to one of the neighbors

  • neighbor

    This article misses the fact that the neighbors' main concern here is to enter a voluntary agreement that keeps everyone safe, and does not stop the group home from moving in. At the community meeting, DYRS Director Stanley said very clearly that sex offenders could be placed at the 1345 Taylor Street facility, ten yards from the Powell Elementary School playground. Hopefully he is correct that most juveniles in DYRS custody are not sex offenders -- we don't know, because he has not shown us those numbers. But if that is true, wouldn't that make it even easier just to assign those few sex offenders to other group homes which are not near elementary schools? The fact is that DYRS had absolutely no interest in working with the community. Shame on DYRS.

  • mona

    neighbor - that is the very least they could do for you short of stopping this all together.

  • AKA

    Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser is useless to get involve on this issue. It's a waste of time to email Muriel her or her staff on any issues. I no longer include Bowser or her staff in my emails to District officials. Bowser is so out of touch with most of us Ward 4 voters. Just remember her non actions when you go to cast your vote in the mayoral race. Bowser isn't popular in Ward 4. She won her Council seat last time because most Ward 4 voters were disgusted with corruption on the D.C. Council and many didn't come out to vote. Muriel made sure her supporters came out to cast their votes.

  • https://www.change.org/petitions/vincent-gray-consider-public-safety-for-youth-schools-and-communities-when-selecting-dyrs-residential-sites Frieda

    Folks can learn more about what Ward 4 residents want to negotiate with DYRS and Life Deeds here: https://www.change.org/petitions/vincent-gray-consider-public-safety-for-youth-schools-and-communities-when-selecting-dyrs-residential-sites

  • Mike H.

    I want to add my voice to those of my concerned neighbors who want DYRS to negotiate a voluntary agreement with us. All we're asking is that there be an agreement as to how the home would be run, what provisions are in place to ensure public safety and the safety of the residents, and giving the neighbors some meaningful recourse should there be incidents at the residence.
    Mayor Gray and Muriel Bowser need to know that their strong support of this reasonable request is expected and will be a pivotal factor when we go to the polls this spring.

  • ROI

    RIbeiro is totally in the dark on this. DC Office of Contracts and Procurement does not make the final selections. The procurement process is guided by that office, but panel members of DYRS chooses the vendors (evaluation panel). Once full disclorure of the bids, evalluations, and rationale for this choice is actually made public, people will realize how shady this looks. lifedeeds.org.

    Procurment process aside, this placement of this house begs for recondideration and common sense.

  • https://www.change.org/petitions/vincent-gray-consider-public-safety-for-youth-schools-and-communities-when-selecting-dyrs-residential-sites Mike

    Taylor St. NW is not a safe place for a jail diversion facility, for the kids in the program, the kids at Powell Elementary and the kids in the neighborhood. Even with promises from DYRS and officials appointed by Mayor Gray that this will be a "closely" monitored facility I have no confidence in the people managing or promoting this facility. Worse is, our elected officials are too busy campaigning and doing favors for $ contributors to do their job.

    DYRS’s ability to “closely” monitor youth in their custody has been well documented. Should youth move into 1345 Taylor St. NW, 20 feet from Powell Elementary, I certainly hope DYRS monitors them better than they did in the two examples below.

    D.C. keeps failing young offenders (14 yr. old in DYRS custody beats man to death): http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/colbert-king-dyrs-is-still-failing-dc-youth/2013/03/22/309e1080-926b-11e2-9cfd-36d6c9b5d7ad_story.html

    GPS monitoring fails to deter a crime spree: (19 yr. old in DYRS custody burglarizes 9 separate residences while wearing DYRS monitored GPS ankle monitoring device): http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/colbert-king-gps-monitoring-fails-to-deter-a-crime-spree/2014/01/31/0f0f0bf8-89e2-11e3-833c-33098f9e5267_story.html

  • drez

    The way the group home situation is set up legally they can by right move into any area so long as there are 5 or fewer residents in the home. The only legal tool to remove them is to document deficiencies in their operation.
    I really hope for everyone's sake this is not a Vincent Able property.

  • Ivy

    What doe's DYRS Director Neal Stanley have over Mayor Gray not firing Stanley? The word is out that MPD Youth Division is investigating the DYRS director for allegations of having sex with a DYRS male kid. Will Chief Lainer cover this up like she did when Fenty beat the s_ _ _ _ out his wife?

  • SE dude

    Why won't the Attorney General bring charges up on Stanley abusing his power over these DYRS kids. Hey Ivy! right on man!

  • kevin

    The word out at Oak Hill is that Stanley likes little boy's and have their personal cell phone numbers. One of the DYRS kids reportedly shot one of Stanley's staff for not paying him after a sex act last year or the year before and the dc police have this information.

  • supporter

    I would request that a detailed background on everyone living in the home be published to all neighbors. So that when a sex offender or worse moves in everyone has the chance to increase their home security. Everyone should have security cameras inside and outside their homes as well as alarms, G's and baseball bats!

  • WARD4NDC

    I dislike Bowser and I'm not a supporter. However, I am sick of the vicious rumors and lies made about Bowser's sexuality and Neil Stanley. I've never met Neil Stanley and I don't believe your vicious lies Ivy and Kevin. You both should burn in hell.

  • https://www.change.org/petitions/vincent-gray-consider-public-safety-for-youth-schools-and-communities-when-selecting-dyrs-residential-sites Mike

    Thank you City Paper for covering this story. The 1300 blk of Taylor St. is not a safe place for a jail diversion facility, for the kids in the program, the kids at Powell Elementary and the kids in the neighborhood. Even with promises from DYRS and officials appointed by Mayor Gray that this will be a "closely" monitored facility I have no confidence in the people managing this facility.

    DYRS’s ability to “closely” monitor youth in their custody has been well documented. Should youth move into 1345 Taylor St. NW, 20 feet from Powell Elementary, I certainly hope DYRS monitors them better than they did in the two examples below.

    D.C. keeps failing young offenders (14 yr. old in DYRS custody beats man to death): http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/colbert-king-dyrs-is-still-failing-dc-youth/2013/03/22/309e1080-926b-11e2-9cfd-36d6c9b5d7ad_story.html

    GPS monitoring fails to deter a crime spree: (19 yr. old in DYRS custody burglarizes 9 separate residences while wearing DYRS monitored GPS ankle monitoring device): http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/colbert-king-gps-monitoring-fails-to-deter-a-crime-spree/2014/01/31/0f0f0bf8-89e2-11e3-833c-33098f9e5267_story.html

  • kevin

    Hey Ward4DC! Do your research on DYRS Stanley and you will become a believer. Stanley is also a tyrant with his workers and forces gay polices on them.

  • watchdog

    Ward4NDC why are you angry? Do you have any clue or idea of who Neil Stanley is or do you think you know. Neil Stanley is a drama queen and a bully to his staff. know personally through a staff assistance that work closely with Mr. Stanley. There is in fact some inapproiate behvavior with some male staff and DYRS youth. I understand that they tell the council what they want them to know. The agency is short staff and that home will not be closely monitored. Look at the staff turn over rate. The HR director recently left and went to Parks and Recreation. Why? do your research. If you have that much faith in Neil then leave him with your male minor family member. I would not......Talk to his staff if you beleive the bloggers are lying. As I continue to say do your research on these agencies heads.

  • http://newbrightwoodianblog.com New Brightwoodian Blog

    Let's see this for what it is. It is not about safety for anyone... neighbors, school children at Powell, or the CHILDREN/YOUTH, placed in this facility. This is about the neighbors worried about the depletion of property values because they live in an area with a high level of group homes. Because of the larger size of homes in this area, they can be converted easier to group homes to house 5 people. There are DYRS group homes, DMH groups homes and DDA group homes throughout Ward 4. The law is quite clear!! If the provide is selected try can choose where they want to locate. This issue has been briefed every time a proposed location is mentioned in this Ward. It is a bit redundant at this point. Federal law cannot be superseded by DC regulations or voluntary agreements. In addition, the proposed voluntary agreement would further restrict the kids living in this home who are being REHABILITATED. Which is the purpose of juvenile justice system. No one should be additionally restricted more than others similarly situated because of where they live. I away the plethora of comments regarding this.

  • Corky

    Bowser and Stanley are right--the group home cannot be forced to re-locate based on who lives there. That's called housing discrimination. And the character assassination needs to stop. That being said, it is not a coincidence that these group homes are more concentrated in some areas than in others. They are overrepresented in areas near the border of DC where there are more single family homes (like Wards 4, 5 and 7). They are also over represented in areas that are or used to be reasonably priced. In other words, middle class families bear the brunt of the hassle and worry of living around criminals. Why aren't these homes in Jack Evans' neighborhood? Because homes in Georgetown are too expensive (and they would have none of it, anti discrimination laws be damned!)

  • IRRITATED

    I am amazed at the level of judgement tossed around. I don't have to call one person/official out of there name to make this the point that it is... The New Brightwoodian Blog if that is what you truly believe you are as shallow minded as the rest of them ignoring that this city has created a BAD habit and won't clean it up without someone standing up. There are things residents will be subjected too that no law or call to the police will help. This is a heavily saturated area with social services to include the Office of Offenders right down the street. The lewd behavior and disrespectful nature of some will spill into this community even more. This community is merely seeking some accountability and diligence in the process of placing these homes. It would take little effort to research location choices - which office to do that - WHO CARES but it should be done. Public Safety for children should move you. I don't expect anyone with an agenda to get this but the human side should kick in at some point. All laws arent inclusive of common sense and the process (which hasn't worked in several communities) needs work. Ignoring that makes all of them (and other naysayers)ignorant and self serving. If you did your research you would see that - that community/group has made sincere efforts to work with the HOME not against it - they are looking out for the children our officials don't deem worthy of a consideration of SAFETY! Common sense placement is an attainable goal - behind a school or placing a home next to a family of young females is just STUPID and a bad choice. Life Deeds - if they cared truly - would research locations that wouldn't bring about the level of scrutiny and ill will towards his programming - hiding behind laws instead of looking for working solutions screams prideful arrogance and selfishness! I applaud his efforts (if genuine) but if he's as caring as he claims HE WOULD DO THE RESEARCH and engage communities so his boys can flourish there! To dismiss the genuine concerns of parents, families and students is a tragic. I applaud the efforts of this community. Its a good fight to have and will help other communities have a voice. Just because you CAN put a home behind a school doesn't mean you SHOULD - wake UP DC!!!

  • Nila Ortega

    LOL "This is about the neighbors worried about the depletion of property values because they live in an area with a high level of group homes" So are you open to home next door to YOUR HOUSE? Do you have young children that you'd be ok allowing to play with your new neighbors? Are you willing to come to the aid of the officers when one of them absconds? How would you handle sexual comments being hurled at your teenage girls? How would you handle it if one of your sons is attack or verbally assaulted - oh call the police - they'll get right on it for you SMH LOL! I guess you'd be ok with your preschooler being stalked by a sex offender sitting in his back yard at his/her school playground? Wait let me guess you'd also be completely ok with your property value changing (which I don't think one person has claimed in this but you sure bought it up hmmmm)? Oh I bet you think DYRS is doing a great job even with all the write ups and bad homes that exist already? I bet you trust all they the claim to do for/with these homes? If you believe public safety is not the forefront of a fathers concern you are an IDIOT - who cares about property value when over 100 youth offenders will be passing through and the EVER SO ACCOUNTABLE DYRS is promising to monitor - would you trust that - seriously? I swear DC has become the breeding ground for the most fake opinionated idiots in the land! If you can't keep it real - keep it quiet please - your position is sad and silly!

  • SDA

    It is no secret that Neil Stanley is gay, but he is no pedophile. He is always professional and careful about whom he socializes with and even where he socializes because he is very much aware that there are those who want him to fail and those who want to start rumors, such as the awful ones listed in these comments.

    I admire Neil for continuing to work with DYRS after all the vitriolic challenges he has had to deal with and continues to deal with even today. As a competent attorney, he can easily find another job. I’ve even asked him why doesn’t he leave and not deal with this undue scrutiny, but while these horrible accusations are challenging and hurtful, he states that he was appointed to do a job and he cares about the troubled youth of our city.

    DYRS was in shambles and we all know it. A few seasoned DC employee were used to way things were didn’t want anyone holding them accountable for actually doing their jobs. Neil came in and cleaned house and folks hated him for it --simple as that.

  • DisgustedbyWard4

    Wow...I find this blog very vile and low-brow in its delivery and responses. To start spewing inflammatory and derogatory comments about peoples sexuality and making baseless, unsubstantiated claims about sexual improprieties with youth is slanderous to say the least.

    We are speaking about children here, our children, they belong to us remember, we are the Village that is supposed to help raise them and this community seems hell bent on throwing them away and anyone who is trying to help them. I can understand concern for their safety but not at the expense of their civil rights. What gives you property owners the right to throw out and trample on these youth’s constitutional rights? Why do you need to have access to their records as requested by…@supporter who is asking the following “a detailed background on everyone living in the home be published to all neighbors?” When did Hoover resurrect himself in the form of these neighbors to start keeping dossiers on people, let alone minors? Who are you that you are now the abettors of morality and law and order?

    East of the River and, especially in Ward 8, where I live has group homes for youth, adults, recovering addicts’, returning citizens, the homeless, etc. You name it and we have it and we also have methadone clinics. We are property owners, we have value in our homes, we have children, we have schools, etc. We want to keep all of them safe and growing however, maybe we have a little more of something that these residents of Ward 4 seem to be lacking…we have compassion for our fellow man and especially our youth.

    This just seems selfish, vile, wrong, and disgusting on so many levels.

  • Ivy

    Neil Stanley fired men that were not gay like his punk ass and hired a bunch of gay men and women that are not qualified nor have credentials to manage kids. The word is out that Neil Stanley is under investigation by MPD for a sex act with a DYRS kid. Someone needs to get a hold of Chief Lainer to confirm and the MPD Youth Division and DC Superior Court records regarding the kid that is involved.

    DYRS has a high turnover rate because Neil fires folks that don't kiss his ass. Also DYRS employee's leave because they don'twant to deal with that drama queen. Stanley is immoral, lacks ethics and not a man to role model for DYRS kids.

  • noodlez

    BOWSER SO BUSY TALKING ABOUT THE 2010 SHADOW CAMPAIGN THAT MAYOR GRAY WASNT APART OF THAT SHE DOENT KNOW HER ASSHOLE FROM HER EARHOLE.

    REPEATING TALKING POINTS DOES NOT A MAYOR MAKE. YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO GOVERN. SHE IS THE WARD 4 EXEC AND WITH WALMARTS AND NO SMALL BUSINESSES RUNNING TO GEO AVE OR KENNEDY STREET SHOULD LET FOLK KNOW WHERE HER AGENDA IS LOCATED.

    HER CAMPAIGN IF FINANCED TO PAY LOPEZ AND THE REST OF THOSE BITCH ASS FENTY FLUNKIES WHO COULD NOT FIND JOBS.

  • Corky

    If one needs any reminder of why we have anti-discrimination laws, one need only read some of the ridiculous comments here by the NIMBY's in Ward 4 (who probably just moved there 2 years ago). Not locating a group home next to a house with girls in it? Are you kidding me? You people are ridiculous. As if anyone looking for a house has to know who lives next door before they buy a house!! I could only imagine the response you would have to someone knocking on your door asking the sex and age of your children!! LOL.

  • watchdog

    I have been in ward 4 since the 80's. Work in DC and have many friends that work for a variety of DC Government agencies.Again, people do your research on agencies heads and individuals before you decide to vote. I agree that you just can't boot someone out of a neighborhood . But what i will say is hold the agency accountable hold Mr. Stanley accountable for what ever he say in relation to this group home. Again, I have no faith in Mr. Stanley based on what I know he is doing within DVRS. The SW community is very small in DC. Mr. Stanley uses individuals as scapegoats when something goes wrong he throws his workers underneath the bus. Yes, DYRS has always had issues and they have not gotten any better since he's been there. Again, who are monitoring those youth that reside out of state under DYRS? Recently there were a few group homes shut down I would ask that people try to find out why? There was an incident recently/summer that ha at Sasah Bruce involving a DYRS kid that was not reported or hanlde well at all.

  • watchdog

    I have a hard time putting faith and trust in Mr. Stanley. He is unable to run an agency or the current group homes and yet we want to add another one? I continue to say if you beleive that bloggers are lying then do your research. Go to DYRS location on H Street in china town and ask questions about Mr. Stanley and his lack of respect for employees. Prefessinal really? we don't need to know when you are in New York or in Dominican. Stop showing off to your employees and do your damn job Neil. And no he didn't clean house at DYRS. He fired people and others ran. Simply because he could and he did not want any whisleblowers around. Since this group home is getting so much attention what DYRS will do is put their least violent, small jacket kids in this home. They will not put kids with on-going issues that they can't manage in this home it would be too much attention for the agency.

  • HUAlum71

    So as I continue to say, Mr/Mz Watchdog:

    How is it you know so damn much about nefarious acts taking place in so many DC agencies, yet YOU have done nothing about it?

    Anonymously venting on a blog will not resolve the problems of which you so vociferously speak. Why don't you speak up for the downtrodden children and employees of the DC government instead of whining like a little pup cast away from the tit feed?

  • mona

    Well I don't know about everything but there may be some substance to the shooting claimed here in the blog. Why would Neil Stanley wait 9 days before reporting something like this http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/5/dyrs-transfers-youth-who-sought-to-report-terrible/

  • HUAlum71

    Ms. Mona:

    Not saying what is or what is not true regarding the allegations being made by the watchdog about so many different DC agencies. What does the date of your link say to you? Your link is dated 2012 and it is about one agency. This is 2014 and watchdog has cast aspersions against at least 3 different agencies.

    My question is why he/she is doing nothing about the fraudulent things being done except putting them in an anonymous comment on a blog.

    If the serious allegations are more than that, watchdog should report them to the proper authorities. If watchdog knows as much as claimed, watchdog should know to whom things should be reported.

    Otherwise why call him/herself watchdog? If watchdogs do nothing else, they ANNOUNCE the approach of possible trouble which enables a protective and/or preventive mode.

    They don't lay around mumbling in dog speak about what is going on under their watch.

  • Kenny Barnes

    On September 24, 2001 my son, Kenny Barnes, Jr, was murdered by an abscoder from the juvenile justice system. In January, 2012, I was hired by DYRS, given the title Coordinator, Youth and Family Engagement.

    The first assignment given to me by then Deputy Director Barry Holman was to do an assessment of the agency to determine what the various departments were doing as regards parental engagement. I was instructed to include in that assessment to meet with outside community based organizations, service based government agencies, and youth advocate organiations; in this assessment I even met with a judge and the public defenders service. As a result of my assessment, not only did I discover very little parentatl engagement taking place, the overall findins were appalling. To my dismay, the findings were never disucssed, ignored, and shelved.

    In March of 2012 because of my concernes regarding my findings, I sent an email to the Mayor and both Deputy Mayors ending with the folowing statement - "Rest assured and by no means am I trying to create problems or be a problem. I am committed as ever, honored to be working, and appreciate the opportunity. However, there is no way I could face either of you, as we are sure to cross paths at some future event, much less some parent or bereaved family member, and have you say to me, "Why didn't you let me know?"

    Furthermore, I sent findings and my concerns to every member of the City Council, including the Chair. My only responses were from Councilmebers Graham, Catania, Cheh,McDuffie, and Grosse.

    The unconditional support given to Director Stanley by the EOM, along with the apathy by most members of the City Council, ignoring newspaper articles, TV reports, lawsuits filed, complaints from employees, complaints from parents, and youth recidivism rates has resulted in an agency that is dysfunctional at best, rife with nepotism and cronyism, and to a director who flaunts his power and authority, with disdain for ehtical codes of conduct, rules and regulations, laws governing the rights of his employees,and, with equal disdain, for the lives of those impacted under his authoritarian rule.

    Ironically, though a great deal has changed since my son was murdered, it was under a similar set of circumstances that allowed his murder to take place.

  • Youth Advocate

    If many took the time to shift through the messy parts of this you can read that the community is attempting to help the process not hurt it. Anyone chiming in about folks not wanting it in their backyard, your judgemental ways lacks common sense. I read here that someone suggested the world would be upset about someone knocking and asking the number of children that live in the home - this is information that our goverment can loosely obtain without issue. Maybe not the most accurate but hell a quick google search can tell you if there is an elementary school 20 feet away. The more we tolerate of our officials they more they will do. Someone also said this argument has been aired and yet many remain complacent with that many complaints out here and this much evidence of just how poorly this has been handled up until now. It sickens me that anyone wouldn't see the issues and safety concerns. But I guess since its not your house or your childs school that makes it easy to be a keyboard ignoramus and say silly stuff like oh they just moved there and don't like it LOL that group is made up of long time and new residents, black, asian, hispanic and white amoung other things. I'm not sure what has to happen for the naysayers but when the goverment says F-you to one of us its saying F-you to all of us. Whoever wrote wake up DC you deserve a medal! The owner of the company does he really care I mean to enter into this without considering the children he claims to be helping is disgusting but he'll get his 3K per kid and keep it moving. They will be subjected to an undeservling level of scrutiny and accusation but he could care less and will collect his slice of the DC payout pie while subjecting children to the mess he created with a horrible location choice.

  • nextdoor

    The owner of the house and company do they he really care I mean to enter into this without considering the children. I truly believe that money is the real issue because you are receiveing 3K per kid. As long as the money is forth coming they could care less about what happening and who is involes. This is not he first time we have had a problem with house and to have to keep going thru this over and over again is just not fair to anyone in the community. Some of the main issues and concerns was thief and I don't want to have to fill like a prisoner in my own home and neighbor.

  • HUAlum71

    Mr Barnes, I am very sorry for your loss.
    I applaud your comments and I certainly hope they get to the right eyes/ears so that something can be done about all of your hard work being shelved and ignored.

    Several questions: Was there any follow up whatsoever from the authorities you emailed? What did you mean to imply by your statement you 'could never face either of you'? and lastly, was that email of your findings the only attempt to make EOM aware?

    I'm not casting aspersions upon you or any other community residents, I am simply attempting to make some sense of what one has to do to get the attention of the Mayor. Perhaps it is a question of whether or not you feel your job is in jeopardy.

    When was the last time you attempted to be heard? Did you go through a proper channel or chain of command? Did you contact the Ethics Office or did the councilmembers who responded drop the ball? Something is seriously wrong here and I believe this is the correct time to ask someone in EOM to address the matter. Good Luck to you sir.

  • Kenny Barnes

    HUAlum71 - those are great questions you are asking and I will attempt to answer the best I can. First thank you very much for your remark about the loss of my son. Perhaps the greatest reason why I have kept up with the goings on at DYRS through the years. I neeed to add as well that I am visually impaired and received no assistance from Director Stanly or DYRS the enitire time I worked there.

    As regards my job, I was let go, the fate of so many others, who try to speak the truth about what is going on at DYRS under the leadership of Director Stanley.

    What I meant by face either of you or any family member is because after my assessment I realized the programming or lack thereof, the nepotism and cronyism with employment procedures and with outside contracting, the lack of paretall engagement, and more concern being about Direcot Stanley and his staying in power than about what was best for youth and families being service by DYRS was potentially disastrous, akin for an accident waithng to happen, but so preventable. That I could not turn my head, It just so happens that I know the Mayor and both Deputy Mayors personally. I did not want to see either one of them or family members of some troubled youth when something occurred saying to me when the truth was known why didn't I inform someone.

    My email did reach the Mayor and a subsequent meeting was set up with me and both Deputy Mayors with Neil Stanley. The result was that nothing came out of that meeting except for my being the subject of a personal vendetta by Mr. Stanley and eventually losing my job. The only thing I did wrong was my concern for the public safety and welfare of our community, be concerned about the way the youth and familes were being service by DYRS, the way employees were being treated, and what I perceived as my loyalty to this administration, that the truth should be known.

    In the end I lost my job.

    The last time I attempted to heard publicly was at the Oversight Hearing chaired by Councilmember jim Graham last week.

    I have contacted the Department of Ethics speaing persoanlly to the Director and was told this was not their area of concern. I have contacted the Us Attorneys office. Even have contate the Washington Post, the Washington Times, Fox five,and even Will Sommer here at the City Paper.

    The sad part is that I have documents to suport my allegationa concerning the lack of parental engagement and the manner in which I was treated as well as the asessment and more. Even without my documentation, it is well known thruought the city, the community, and other government agenices of the shortcomings of DYRS and the problems and circumstances surrounding Mr. Stanley.

    Yes there is something terribly wrong and in all candor I do not understand. Here is an agency that has been budgeted alost 430 million dollars in 4 years, servicing at capacity only 1,000 youth per year and currently only 531; 40 million has gone to Community Base dorganizations under YoutLInk, the outsid entities overseeing the community based organization. Yet data is flawed or incomplete, proper reports cannot be properly given at the oversight hearing, and data for recidivsm, which from my observation when i was working there perhaps between 60-70%, there is no data collected or delivered.

    And yet when a parent who needs assistance, whose child may be on the brink of troulbe, there is no specific agency call, and no where to turn. Instead of look ing for ways to prevent our youth from being in the juvenile jutice system, we make the juvenile justice system a virtual ATM machine at the whim of a Director such as Neil Stanley.

    Currently as I had no other choice I filed an EEOC complaint against the city, DYRS, and Director Stanley. Somewhat ironic in that it was a little over 10 years ago in 2003 that I anm my sons' wife and 4 kids filed a wrongul death lawsuit against the forerunner of DYRS, YSA, which was one of the catalysts that led to the restructuring of the juvenile justice sytem to where it is today.

  • Ivy

    Kenny Barnes -

    You were kissing DYRS as after they hired you - only when they fired your incompetent ass you dogged DYRS. You are a sellout. Find a real job like everybody else and stop promoting yourself.

  • Kenny Barnes

    Ivy - not sure who you are behind your pseudonym, but you are obviously someone whe doesnt know me. Because if you did you would know I am not nor ever have been an ass kisser and really too old to learn know. In fact if I were, I would still have a job becuse thats the main area of competnece that is needed to work with DYRS and mainatain a job.

    As regards calling me incomptent then I would say at the very least you are an imbecile. You know nothing about me, my work, or, my accomplishments.

  • LuvrofDC

    I have read all of the comments. Most are just mean and vile.

    I have worked in and around the system for over 15 years. I think it is necessary to note that the references to "children" in these comments only refers to the neighbors' kids. The residents of the group homes are children too. Many are victims of multiple failed systems and DYRS is the last stop before death or the adult justice system.

    This population is very challenging to work with and there are very few who are up for the challenge. I encourage all of the critics to ask yourself what you are doing to help. The house has a right to be there - according to the current laws and regulations - and whether the neighbors like it or not. I encourage the neighbors to volunteer their time to support the young people in the house. Run a book club, bring in a guest speaker, help with homework. Get to know the kids.

    That said, laws and regulations are meant to be changed. I believe that those working within the legislative branch have a duty and responsibility to their constituency to effectuate change based on expressed concerns. I have yet to hear about the drafting of a legislation that will address any of the concerns of DC residents about congregate residential care. I would like to see legislation that at a minimum required the Government to provide the community with notice - even if its not permission - to opening a new home. The "surprise" factor is one of the largest complaints by residents. Neighbors usually learn about a new group home in their communities by accident.

    If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

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