Juvenile Justice
3:24 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Transgender Teen Could Be Moved to Massachusetts Facility

York Correctional Facility in Niantic.
Credit Connecticut Dept. of Correction

A 16-year-old transgender girl who's been held at Connecticut's women's prison for almost two months could be moved to a Massachusetts facility in the next couple of weeks. 

Connecticut Department of Children and Families issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying a privately run residential treatment center tentatively accepted the girl known as Jane Doe. DCF said the acceptance is tentative, because Jane Doe has a right to a hearing if she objects to the placement.

In the statement, DCF Commissioner Joette Katz said she hopes that "Jane Doe can improve to the point that she can be placed with foster parents." A juvenile court ordered Jane Doe's transfer to York Correctional Institution in April after a judge approved DCF's request. DCF has said the teen is too violent to be held at any of its facilities.

Aaron Romano is one of Jane Doe's attorneys. He said in a statement placing the teen with a foster family is the ultimate goal. He said realistically there must be a transition and they would welcome an agreement between the parties.

Here's the full statement from DCF:

HARTFORD – Department of Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner Joette Katz said today that the teenager known as "Jane Doe" has been tentatively accepted for admission at a privately-run residential treatment center for youths in Massachusetts whose staff is trained in meeting the needs of transgender youths. The expectation is that the teen will be transported to the Massachusetts program within the next two weeks. The acceptance is "tentative" because Jane Doe has the right to a hearing if she objects to this placement.

Commissioner Katz said the search for a suitable program finally ended following a prolonged search for a secure facility that would honor her gender identity when the Massachusetts private provider that previously only treated youths served through the State of Massachusetts mental health agency agreed to accept her. Unfortunately, more than a dozen programs were not suitable because they either were not secure or could not legally accommodate her in a setting for young women.

The program that has accepted Jane Doe serves both boys and girls, which is Jane Doe's stated preference. Each youth has his/her own bedroom, which is also Jane Doe's preference. The facility is secure. The goal of the program is to develop internal controls and teach the youths how to self-regulate their behaviors.  The program features multiple on-site clinical staff and low staff-to-youth ratios. As Jane Doe progresses in her treatment, she will be given access to community activities. The ultimate goal for youths in the program is a transition to a therapeutic foster home.

Commissioner Katz said she hopes "Jane Doe improves to the point that she can be placed with foster parents. This transition will allow her to get the treatment she needs and begin the process of healing. I hope this can eventually lead to successful re-integration into a family and community as well as a transition to a healthy adulthood."

A juvenile court ordered Jane Doe's transfer to the York Correctional Institution in April after determining the transgender youth exhibited behaviors that made it impossible to serve her in programs run by or used by DCF. Jane Doe had been committed to DCF for assaulting a staff person at a Judicial Branch detention center and, then in February, assaulted another staff person at a private program in Massachusetts where she previously had been sent for treatment. Jane Doe has been at York since April while DCF searched for another treatment setting that could meet her needs while also maintaining the safety of other youths in the program and staff.