, Salem, MA

Local News

December 31, 2012

HAWC told to improve shelter

Salem: Report finds no evidence of abuse but recommends training, establishing new policies


HAWC had “inadequate policies and procedures” in place regarding the length of stays and no clear guidelines for terminating services;

HAWC staff “did fail to comply with mandated reporting requirements” concerning suspected child abuse or neglect;

The decision to stop accepting new clients to the shelter “was appropriate” based on the situation that existed at the time;

As Sterling noted, HAWC was “diligent” in maintaining good relationships with those in the shelter and the complaints were “not typical;”

HAWC staff did not engage in retaliatory or humiliating behavior toward residents;

The investigation found no mismanagement of housing assistance funds (an allegation that was also refuted last spring by the area director of the program that administers those funds);

HAWC has been directed to work with the DCF’s domestic violence unit on a “quality improvement plan.”

The staff of the shelter will be required take part in training on the mandated reporting statute and will attend a “debriefing” on other issues raised in the report, Isaksen said.

Sterling said HAWC has agreed to comply with all of the recommendations of the report.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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