Pendleton Child Services Center to Close March 13

Thursday, March 05, 2015

The City of Virginia Beach will close the Pendleton Child Services Center on March 13. This is partly in response to a national trend away from residential treatment for children and toward community-based models. It is also in response to recent allegations of improprieties at the center.


The Pendleton Center, a division of the city’s Human Services Department, is a short-term community service program that works with children ages 5 to 12 and their families. The center helps children who have difficulty managing their behavior at home and in the classroom. During their stay at the center, they are provided resources to help them make positive changes in their lives.


The Pendleton Center has a long and distinguished history in Virginia Beach, starting in 1973 at the Camp Pendleton National Guard base. The center moved to its current location at 2473 N. Landing Road in 1993. Since its inception, the Pendleton Center has helped hundreds of children and families.


Earlier this year, Pendleton had 15 children in its residential and day school programs, but today it has only four children. All the children formerly in Pendleton programs have been or will be helped in other locations, including supervised visitation programs and outpatient services.


In the past decade, behavioral health services have shifted from residential services to a community-based model. This is the least restrictive service model that allows families to remain together whenever possible.


Human Services, the largest city department in Virginia Beach, helps care for the city’s most vulnerable citizens, including children. The agency has a Continuous Quality Improvement team that evaluates how the department can improve care for children and others. In looking at Pendleton recently, the team found irregularities, which were immediately reported to City Auditor Lyndon Remias, who is conducting an independent investigation.


On Tuesday, Human Services Director Dannette Smith and Deputy  City Attorney Rod Ingram briefed the City Council on the recommendation to close Pendleton, and the council concurred. On Wednesday, Human Services staff spoke with parents and community providers.


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