State health officials and a legislative working group are at odds over how to best transform part of the state's underused juvenile detention center in an effort to meet a $5 million budget cut.
The health department wants to convert half the Sununu Youth Services Center into a psychiatric residential treatment facility. But a legislative working group proposes selling most of the campus to a non-profit that will run a youth substance abuse treatment center. Any changes require legislative approval.
Budget writers started the debate over the center's future when they directed the Department of Health and Human Services to cut more than $5 million from the center's two-year budget. The center's population has been declining, with less than half of the 144 beds in use on a daily basis.