I commend the Portland Press Herald Editorial Board for highlighting the need for juvenile justice reform in our state (“Our View: Replacing Long Creek may now be in reach,” March 4), but it’s incorrect to say that there are no options for young people in need of treatment outside of Long Creek Youth Development Center.

As a senior staff member at Day One, an organization that has provided a safe, protective environment for high-risk Maine youth for the past 45 years, I know that alternatives exist for youth and families to access substance use, mental health and wellness services.

In fact, in addition to providing counseling in schools, outpatient offices, a teen center and corrections settings, including Long Creek, Day One has three residential locations. These residential settings provide intensive therapy for Maine teens in a supportive environment where youth also further their education and learn critical life skills.

Youth from all over Maine needing intensive substance use treatment, often with accompanying mental health concerns, find Day One’s six-month residential program a lifesaver and a new opportunity to set a different life trajectory.

Despite Day One’s strong continuum of services, I agree that there are enormous gaps in our state when it comes to providing the kind of integrated efforts that are required to meet the complex needs of youth, especially in those services that will provide opportunities for successful integration back into the community following extended residential treatment.

We commend the recent efforts to thoughtfully consider the future of this facility and know they will be most meaningful in making a difference for Maine families if they are connected to comprehensive planning of reforms to the state’s substance use prevention and treatment efforts and children’s services. Maine’s children deserve no less.

Rebecca Howes

Falmouth


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