NY: Pleasantville Struggles to Handle Influx of NYC Kids in Crisis
City and ProPublica – January 03, 2024
For more than 100 years, the village has coexisted, more or less peacefully, with the Pleasantville Cottage Campus – a residential program that, in its current iteration, houses about 160 young people with behavioral challenges. Nearly all its residents are in foster care; most are from New York City. While Pleasantville is 87% white, almost all of the youth on the campus are Black or Latino. The majority have histories of severe trauma, according to staff at JCCA, the nonprofit foster care provider that runs the campus. Many were sexually trafficked. Some had multiple psychiatric hospitalizations or lived in five, six or seven foster homes before landing here. Like other residential foster care programs (there are just over 200 “congregate care” facilities in New York state, with about 3,600 beds), the Pleasantville campus has periodically been the target of complaints from local residents. Young people leave the grounds without permission. They get into fights and shoplift from stores, neighbors and police say. But during the past several years, those complaints have grown incendiary, erupting last summer into a bitter public battle that threatens to shut the campus down.