Girl’s Camp to offer gender-specific rehabilitation

Young women will finally get equal time in the county's juvenile justice system, thanks to a girl’s camp being constructed as part of the Youth Services Center.

The 30-bed minimum-security camp, just down the road from the Juvenile Hall, will be the girls' equivalent of Camp Glenwood for boys. The camp's programming will be gender specific, providing counseling for physically, psychologically and sexually abused victims, as well as allowing the wards to regularly interact with their children and families.

“An integral part of the treatment is family counseling,” chief juvenile probation officer Loren Buddress said.

The Girl's Camp will be the county's first. Currently girls are housed in the same type of facilities as boys, although their needs are often worlds apart, according to officials.

“It's become apparent in the last few years that what works for girls is about 180 degrees from what helps boys,” Stewart Peterson, San Mateo County deputy chief of probation for institutions, said.

In addition to the Girl's Camp, the new Youth Services Center includes a 24-bed group home for abandoned, abused or neglected children removed from their families. “These kids haven't broken any law,” Buddress said.

The 276,000-square-foot Youth Services Center includes probation offices, two juvenile courts, a school and cafeteria.

The center will replace the current, 55-year-old juvenile hall across the street, much of which is without air conditioning, frequently experiences roof leaks when it rains and regularly loses power do to outdated circuitry, Buddress said.

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