New Highfields CEO: It's an Opportunity

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Some might see inheriting the helm at Highfields as an overwhelming challenge. John Evans sees it a bit differently.

"I choose to look at the situation as an opportunity," Evans, Highfields' new president and CEO said.

An opportunity to rebuild trust in residential treatment programs shut down after allegations of mistreatment, allegations of a shower hazing incident ignored by staff, allegations of an employee restraining a resident in the snow, possibly without a coat, for up to 20 minutes.

Since then, a number of changes have taken place here at Highfields. Evans says the changes should be sufficient to protect the youth living at the facility.

"I think it's heading in a good direction now," he said.

The changes include new leadership and some new staff since the July reopening of the residential facility. Some employees have been trained by experts in youth treatment. And new ways of interacting with those living at the center are being put into practice.

All positive steps, the new president and CEO says. He says he might make some additional changes as he begins the job.

Evans comes from an administrative role at the state Department of Human Services, but he's worked as a probation officer, as a casework and at residential facilities not unlike the one run by Highfields.

Now he'll be heading that facility and all of the group's programs October 1st.

"My intention is to be very available, very present and hopefully we won't have these kinds of trouble in the future, so we won't have to fix them."