Come Sept. 1, Maryland begins its largest experiment in privatization. That is when Rebound, a Denver-based company, takes over operation of the Charles Hickey School on Cub Hill Road in Baltimore County, the state's only large-scale facility for disruptive, delinquent juveniles.
Officials have high hopes that a privately run treatment center can help deeply disturbed young people who have gotten into trouble. Despite recent improvements at the Hickey School, the state's past efforts failed miserably to make a difference. Fifty percent of the youths at the school are re-arrested later. Hickey remains a violent place, where assaults are frequent, training for guards is poor and little real help is given to youngsters.
Rebound already runs a successful national center for boys in Brush, Colo. At Hickey, it will stress education programs, with special attention for kids who often have failed miserably in school. There will be a wide range of vocational training available as well as activities geared to help a child's emotional and social development. Equally important, Rebound incorporates a three-year "after-care" program to give kids an assist in solving problems once they leave the Hickey School.