Judge OKs plan to distribute Serenity Place services to other organizations

New Hampshire Union Leader
January 2018
Mark Hayward
MANCHESTER – The Serenity Place drug-treatment program dissolved further Tuesday when a judge approved plans to distribute its services among several non-profit organizations dedicated to drug and alcohol treatment and social services.

The plan comes a month after state officials seized control of the financially troubled organization and turned it over to Families in Transition – New Horizons.

Serenity Place had expanded rapidly in the last three years along with the opioid epidemic; it was the primary provider of treatment services for drug users who showed up a the Fire Department’s Safe Stations program.

Under the proposal approved by Superior Court Judge Amy Messer:

• Manchester-based Families in Transition – New Horizons will assume control of two transitional living programs – Tirrell House for men and Lin’s Place for women.

• Manchester-based Farnum Center will take over an intensive outpatient program, outpatient services, and crisis Respite.

Respite, which housed Safe Station participants enrolled in Serenity Place programs, will move to 700 Lake Ave. and will be more of a treatment program than residiential program, officials said.

• Elliot Hospital will provide programs associated with Hillsborough County North Drug Court.

• The Seacoast-based Granite Pathways will open a location in Manchester to provide wrap-around and support services for Safe Station people.

• Several organizations will provide impaired-driver education programs.

• The U.S. probation and parole department will oversee drug testing and urinalysis.

Gov. Chris Sununu and the Executive Council are expected to meet on Wednesday and approve the transfer of state contracts to the organizations.

The hearing on Tuesday was the first since late last year, when a judge gave Families in Transition – New Horizons control of Serenity Place.

According to court filings, Serenity Place had $8,600 in its checking account on the day FiT took over.

For the past month, according to Charitable Trusts Director Tom Donovan, Families in Transition – New Horizons has worked to find providers to take over the tasks of Serenity Place.

“I know it’s a sad story about Serenity Place. If we’re to glean anything from this, it is the commmunity has come together,” said Maureen Beauregard, director of FiT.

Donovan, a senior assistant attorney general, filed papers that laid out the various responsibilities of new providers. 

About 20 former Serenity Place workers will be laid off, but he said no people receiving treatment, recovery or residential services will lose access.

Donovan also said that Medicaid officials had denied payments to Serenity Place because staff providing services lacked proper credentials.

“I don’t know if it’s illegal, but it’s not a way to get paid,” he said. 

He said the Attorney General’s office continues to investigate Serenity Place.

Read more here: http://www.unionleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20180123/NEWS21/180129726

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