The RFP declares successful bidders will "commence services" no later than October 31, 2007.
Here's the request for proposals for privatized detention centers for TYC youth aged 10-13. Fifteen bidders responded, and multiple contracts may be awarded. Potential bidders were privately notified in April and bidding closed on June 4. There was no press release or public statement about the decision, nor were employees internally notified.
Here's the list of companies and nonprofits that submitted bids to operate detention centers for young offenders, according to information forwarded from TYC:
- 4M Youth Services, Inc
- Alliance Adolescent and Children's Services Sulphur Springs, Texas location
- Alliance Adolescent and Children's Services Arlington, Texas location
- Byrd's Foster Group Home, Inc.
- Cornell Corrections of Texas, Inc. dba Abraxas Youth and Family Services, Inc
- Cornerstone Programs Corporation
- Eckerd Youth Alternatives, Inc
- Every Kid Counts, Inc
- People Need People
- Renewed Strength, Inc
- Rosalyn Rufflin/Lifestream Behavioral Health Residential Treatment Center
- Southwest Key Programs, Inc.
- Totally Fit Ministries, Inc.
- Youth Services International, Inc. Tyler, Texas location
- Youth Services International, Inc. Eagle Lake, Texas location
One positive note - the RFP mandates smaller facilities with less than 48 youth per site, and staffing must be 1-6 during the day and 1-12 at night. But that doesn't explain why the services must be privatized - that should have been happening at TYC's existing facilities all along if the Legislature had ponied up the necessary funds.
I don't know where this idea came from. I've never even heard it floated that Texas should privatize detention for 10-13 year olds. It certainly has nothing to do with the scandals that launched the reforms. The Legislature didn't mandate it, that's for sure. How can this idea have gotten so far - an already-closed RFP with 15 bidders - and nobody knows anything about it?
This one, my friends, doesn't pass the transparency smell test. That's a huge change. We're talking about farming out 21% of TYC's most vulnerable charges to bottom-line oriented private contractors. How can this have remained a secret? A commenter correctly pointed out:
So they just did a 6-stop "State of the Agency" tour and forgot to tell employees they were moving 10-13 year olds into contract care?!! When did they plan to mention that, I wonder? After Geo Group received the contract?No kidding! That almost begins to seem like intentional deception by the TYC administration. Not only top brass but every potential vendor in the state new about it. However, the TYC employees whose jobs would be affected, the parents whose kids would be moved, and advocates working to improve the system had no input in the decision. I don't know whether state legislators knew about the policy shift, but from this RFP it appears to be a fait accompli.
I'm seriously beginning to wonder if anybody at TYC's top management has a clue what they're doing, or if we're just witnessing an extended amateur hour by a bunch of folks who have no business running a state agency.
These were easily avoidable mistakes. TYC simply MUST implement a process to vet new policies and privatization initiatives through stakeholders. Please, TYC management - I want y'all to succeed, but you've GOT to get your act together over there, folks.