San Mateo County Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Commission’s 2022 Youth Services Center inspection report and 2023 draft Camp Kemp Inspection Report outline the most pressing concerns at our Juvenile Hall including:

 Lack of Rehabilitative Programs: 

  • No Intensive Mental Health Programs 
  • No Vocational Programs 
  • No Substance Abuse Program
  • No Victim Awareness or Restorative Justice Programs
  • No Rape Trauma Services
  • No Life Skills Training
  • No Parenting Classes (for youths and adults) 

Medical and Dental Services & Records

  • The Dentist only comes to the facility once a month.
  • Several children reported tooth pain, an abbess and one broken tooth that required an extensive wait.
  • One child had to wait almost a year to get a pair of glasses. While he waited he did not want to attend school and stayed on the unit.
  • There is no electronic medical records system. Medical and Dental records are handwritten in charts and kept in a chart room. 

No Dedicated Mental Health Space/Therapeutic Counseling Room:

  • Almost all youth at the Juvenile Hall require MH services.
  • The Commission recognizes the immediate need for a dedicated mental health space within the facility. 

We urge the Probation Department to identify a space where trauma-informed counseling rooms can be therapeutically designed, equipped, and utilized by BHRS staff and clinicians to provide services to youth.

Art Therapy, Multi-Sensory, Deescalation Room

  • The Art Therapy, Multi Sensory, Deescalation Room that has been in the works for almost two years now. This single unfinished space has been the subject of social media videos, listed in a series of reports, grants, etc, has yet to open or serve a single child. 
  • The Sheriff’s Activities “SAL” reports that they donated most of the initial materials for space and were prepared to provide an Art Therapist and supplies for the program.  However, the program never materialized as reported and the Art Therapist is no longer there.

Electronic Monitoring Program “EMP” Services for Out of County Youth

The Commission strongly believes the Probation Department’s recommendations related to eligibility for EMP services be based upon the facts and circumstances of the charges and the best interest of the youth, regardless where they live. A youth’s ability to be released from the juvenile hall on EMP should never be based on a parents ability to pay for these services.  

Food Services & Meal Times

  • The food is no longer prepared at the facility. It is prepared at the San Mateo County Jail and transported over the following day to be reheated.
  • Children have filed dozens of grievances over being hungry and not having enough to eat since the change in food service occurred in 2021.
  • Medical Staff is being asked to write RX for children who are still hungry after meals so they can have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
  •  Dinner is served very early— at 4:00 pm, and at 3:00 pm on Sundays.

Critically Low Staffing levels

  • Girls from the Camp Kemp program (including those contacted from Sonoma County) are brought to the Juvenile Hall to sleep every night. 
  • No plans to create a Secure Track Unit (for youth who would have gone to CYA/DJJ).
  • 4/10 shifts were canceled and switched to 5/8 shifts. This has caused personal and financial hardships for staff (commute, day care, time away from family) and contributed to low morale overall.

Get in touch

If you’d like to join us in advocating for youth in San Mateo County, please contact us. We need your support.

Email Becca Kieler at

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