Some CIT consumers will qualify for community outings

NORWICH – No residents of the Valley Ridge Center for Intensive Treatment have taken rehabilitation excursions in the community, assures the maximum security facility’s director, but the practice is officially permitted now.

Off-site visits in Chenango County were prohibited at Valley Ridge when a host of public and private officials laid out stipulations and commitments for accepting the facility back in 2002. Chenango County donated the Upper Ravine Road land where about 60 developmentally disabled adults who have offending or criminal behaviors are currently held.

The rules changed when Valley Ridge came under the umbrella of Broome Developmental Disabilities Services Organization in Binghamton last year. Broome DDSO’s community inclusion therapies include patronizing local stores and restaurants in Chenango County under strict supervision.

“Valley Ridge has rigorous oversight procedures to ensure those individuals who have shown progress in their treatment are allowed this opportunity with the appropriate oversight and safeguards in place,” said Nicole Weinstein, director of public information for the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).

Valley Ridge Director Carl Letson told members of the CIT’s Board of Visitors on Oct. 21 that he was “unaware of any such visits in Chenango County.” The community oversight group, which has met about four times per year at the Eaton Center in Norwich since the CIT opened, has the authority to visit Valley Ridge at any time; receives all incident reports; and is advised of preliminary plans for construction and alterations and programs and activities at the facility.

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