Rock River Academy Scheduled to Close in 2015

UHS announced in January 2015 that it would close Rock River Academy within 90 days. The move came after the Chicago Tribune focused attention on the facility in a five-part investigative series titled “Harsh Treatment.” Former Rock River residents described it as “violent, chaotic and under-resourced.” The series prompted the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to place Rock River Academy under an intake hold, and to install monitors at the facility. In a statement, Rock River called the intake hold unfair and criticized the Tribune’s reporting. UHS discounted the claims of the former Rock River residents saying they “have had often horrific life experiences and have mental health issues…. Their characterization of issues and facts do not accurately reflect what really happened.” The Rock River officials said the Tribune “focused on isolated cases and old allegations.” But the Tribune cited recent DCFS data showing Rock River remained one of the most troubled youth facilities in Illinois, with the highest rate of youths manually restrained by staff, the second highest rate of self-inflicted wounds by wards, and the third-highest rate of wards detained by police or charged with crimes. To read more about the closure of Rock River Academy, click here.