Oakview’s perfect score

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Oakview Juvenile Residential Center recently received a perfect rating of 100 by the American Correctional Association and is the only one of 12 community juvenile correctional facilities in Ohio to receive the distinction.

“We are proud and honored that Oakview has been recognized by ACA for being the outstanding facility that it is,” said John M. Rowan, executive director at Oakview. “This reaccreditation is testimony to the quality of our operations and our staff that foster a professional and safe environment for residents and the surrounding community.”

The perfect rating was announced Oct. 16 at the center by ACA representatives Doug Sproat and Joel Player, who spent two days conducting a thorough audit of Oakview’s policies, procedures, operations and staff.

The accreditation process is conducted every three years by the ACA.

The national reaccreditation process involves the review through ACA in which a facility’s program is checked for compliance with 266 standards. Twenty-six of those standards are deemed mandatory, and in Oakview’s case, 12 non-mandatory standards are not applicable.

According to the ACA, the purpose of the audits is to measure an agency’s operation against the various standards, based on written documentation, observations and interviews. During the two-day audit, Rogers and Asbridge met with the staff and residents.

In January, a panel of commissioners from the ACA will hold a reaccreditation hearing in Houston. The panel will review the information about Oakview and vote to award or deny reaccreditation.

Accreditation is awarded for a period of three years, during which time annual certification statements, confirming continued standard compliance are submitted to ACA.

To ensure continued accredited status, agencies apply for reaccreditation approximately nine months prior to the expiration of their current award, according to the ACA.

“Being accredited reflects on the qualify of a facility’s policies and procedures,” said Sproat. “It considers the overall operation and it’s good for the staff and residents.”

Benefits of accreditation range from improved staff training and development to increased safety issues, defense against liability, the possibility or reduced liability insurance and raise morale among everyone from staff to residents.

Oakview opened its new facility on National Road, west of St. Clairsville. It was a project that took three years to construct after 17 years of planning.

The facility has a gymnasium, kitchen, meeting rooms, classrooms and a three-wing dormitory that expanded its residential capacity from 10 beds, which is the adjacent structure, formerly used by Oakview, to 24 beds. Oakview is currently funded and licensed for use of 16 beds.

Young men between the ages of 12-17 from Belmont, Guernsey, Noble, Harrison, Jefferson and Monroe counties are served by Oakview Juvenile Residential Center. Hundreds of youth have been involved in Oakview’s programs since the original facility opened in 1994.

“The physical plant looks as good as if it were a new facility,” said Sprout. “The staff is doing a great job maintaining the building and operations and the youth are aware of how much they are benefiting from this program.

“I think the citizens of Ohio should be happy and proud that they have this facility here.”