Author Topic: Repost: Runaways from Rock River Academy  (Read 3615 times)

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Offline Oscar

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Repost: Runaways from Rock River Academy
« on: January 02, 2012, 01:56:46 PM »
What kind of facility is Rock River Academy?

I found this article and due to lack of answers I would like to investigate further:

Rockford center for troubled girls hit by spate of runaways:
24 girls ran away from Rock River Academy in first four months of 2010, Behavioral Health Central

Government agencies pay at least $7 million a year to a Rockford psychiatric center that promises to treat and shelter troubled girls, including dozens of state wards with traumatic histories.

But in the first four months of this year, at least 24 girls ran away from the Rock River Academy, more than double the number during all of last year, according to a Tribune review of police reports and Department of Children and Family Services records.

Two 17-year-old state wards disappeared in April and remain listed as endangered runaways on the Web site of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The risks these teens face while on the run are underscored by other cases in the previous year. In December, a 17-year-old state ward informed staff at the facility that she had been raped "by a man she had met while on run," according to a DCFS report. Another report states that a 16-year-old state ward who ran away for several days told staff in August 2009 that she had been sexually assaulted several times by an older man who offered her shelter.

Both of those teens managed to run away again. The girl who in December told staff she was raped also left in February, March and April. Six days after that fourth incident, she somehow got a facility key from a staff member and used it to slip out a back door, according to a DCFS report. She has been missing since, records show.

Under state laws, residential centers such as the 42-bed Rock River are not fully locked, and patients cannot be forcibly detained unless they are a threat to themselves or others. The centers are expected to prevent runaways through close supervision and through programs and activities that make the youth feel they belong and are valued.

Rock River says on its Web site that it "builds a secure and trusting environment." In a statement to the Tribune, facility officials said Rock River "not only provides excellent treatment, it delivers positive results."

Surrounded by cornfields on a well-kempt, 27-acre campus, Rock River is one of 10 comparable residential treatment centers that handle young Illinois wards with severe mental health challenges. It is run by Psychiatric Solutions Inc., the nation's largest for-profit behavioral health firm.

At least two of the firm's Illinois psychiatric centers have been the subject of an expanding U.S. Justice Department probe that began in 2008, when the Tribune documented a series of sexual assaults of youth at PSI's west suburban Riveredge Hospital. DCFS has not placed a juvenile state ward at Riveredge since then. Justice Department lawyers also have subpoenaed DCFS records about a company facility in Streamwood. PSI and its executives have not been accused of wrongdoing.

In April the Tribune sought records from Rockford police and state agencies about runaways from Rock River. That month, facility officials told the Tribune in a statement, Rock River independently launched "a new comprehensive action plan ... to deter runaways" by training staff and creating a "safety quality council" to analyze the incidents.

Since then, "the number of elopements has decreased dramatically," the facility said.

DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe said his agency is monitoring Rock River closely and is implementing a new data-collection program to track the number of days state wards go missing from residential treatment centers because of runaways, arrests or psychiatric hospitalizations.

"Youth stop running when they have good reason to stay," Marlowe said. "We're measuring the quality and holding providers accountable for improving their results."

Some of the girls who ran from Rock River this year were located by Rockford police and returned the same day, including two 12-year-olds who fled through the gymnasium door in March, records show.

But some young women stayed out much longer. Two state wards — one 15 years old and the other 17 — went missing for nine days, until they were picked up by Peoria police some 130 miles away.

A mentally disabled 15-year-old girl who disappeared April 24 was found by Rockford police about three weeks later drinking at night outside Lincoln Middle School with an adult woman who had a criminal record, the Tribune found.

In April, when police brought two runaways back to Rock River, the girls remained agitated, and one punched an employee, a DCFS report said. Rock River staff tried to secure both girls using "emergency team control techniques," but the tussle continued until the girls were given shots of the psychotropic drugs Ativan and Haldol, the records show. The medicated girls were taken to a hospital by ambulance on stretchers — one with fluctuating vital signs, the records show.

It is difficult to compare runaway rates among Illinois youth centers because children's problems can vary by facility, as well as varying over time at any given center, said University of Illinois at Chicago clinical psychologist Alan Morris. DCFS' comparative data also do not distinguish between attempted and actual runaways.

The center with the highest rate so far this year was a small, eight-bed unit for males age 16 and 17 with conduct disorders and severe runaway behaviors, run by Lawrence Hall Youth Services on Chicago's Northwest Side. But one youth was responsible for 28 of the 61 runaway attempts or incidents there, and none of those lasted overnight, Lawrence Hall CEO Mary Hollie said in an interview.

Rock River was second-highest with 52 reported runaways or attempts during the period from Jan. 1 through June 22. Its rate per resident was more than 10 times that of the facility with the lowest rate: the 35-bed Maryville Scott Nolan Residential Treatment Center in Des Plaines, which reported three runaway incidents or attempts during that period, according to DCFS records.

dyjackson@tribune.com

Copyright © 2011, Chicago Tribune
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Offline Xelebes

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Re: Repost: Runaways from Rock River Academy
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2012, 02:03:55 PM »
It is operated by Psychiatric Solutions.  Didn't it get bought out by CEC or whatever the company that Santorum was a director of?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Ursus

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Rockford center for troubled girls hit by spate of runaways
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2012, 02:31:48 PM »
Date and author of the article copied out in the OP, along with link to news archive of original publisher (above link did not work for me):


    Chicago Tribune
    Rockford center for troubled girls hit by spate of runaways

    24 girls ran away from Rock River Academy in first four months of 2010

    August 17, 2010 | By David Jackson, Tribune reporter[/list]
    « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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    Offline Ursus

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    Rising number of runaways from Rockford girls home
    « Reply #3 on: January 02, 2012, 02:44:54 PM »
    Another article, with pretty much the same news, but also some pics of the facility:

    -------------- • -------------- • --------------

    13 WREX
    Rising number of runaways from Rockford girls home

    Posted: Aug 17, 2010 7:43 PM EDT
    By: Rebecca Klopf





    ROCKFORD (WREX) -  A Rockford home for troubled girls sees a big increase in the number of its residents trying to run away.  Problems at the Rock River Academy came to light because of a Chicago Tribune investigation.  The newspaper says there has been a big jump from last year to this year.  It found in 2009 about a dozen kids ran away or tried to run away and this year the Rock River Academy says its had 40 cases.

    The Rock River Academy treats girls who face serious mental health problems, everything from psychiatric disorders to sexual assaults. It says about half of the 40 cases this year happened while the child was at a public school and not under its facility's control.  But the other half happened while at its center.  "This creates a troubling scenario," says David Jackson, Chicago Tribune reporter.  "You've got a young person presenting a danger and obviously a high priority to keep monitored and keep active and keep involved."

    The facility says it has delayed locks that open after 30 seconds, but can't actually lock down the facility because under Illinois law kids have to be able to get out.   Once a girl leaves, the Tribune found some reported being victims of sexual assault.  Those same girls ended up running away again and in once case a girl who has been missing since April still has not been found.  "That's why its important in a facility like this that treats such a troubled and vulnerable population and does so with state funds it important to monitor it," says Jackson.

    The Rock River Academy says its working hard to decrease the number of runaways.  In a statement, it says there is a new comprehensive plan in place to deter elopements and since April the number decreased dramatically.  The facility is also giving its staff more training.





    © Copyright 2000 - 2012 WorldNow and WREX.
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    Offline Ursus

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    Statement from Rock River Academy
    « Reply #4 on: January 02, 2012, 03:27:17 PM »
    13 WREX
    Statement from Rock River Academy

    Posted: Aug 18, 2010 9:02 AM EDT

    PRESS RELEASE

    Statement from Rock River Academy in Rockford, IL regarding elopements:

    Rock River Academy is licensed as a child care facility in Illinois. Regulations from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services stipulate that a licensed child care facility is not a secure facility. Because licensed child care facilities are not secure facilities, adolescent residents will from time to time leave or elope from a treatment facility despite the best therapeutic efforts to prevent them. If residents want to leave, they cannot be forcibly detained unless staff determines they are a threat to themselves or another person. This behavior is manifest in adolescent facilities throughout Illinois. Its level of intensity is determined in large measure by deterrent procedures, geographic location and even seasonal factors. Furthermore, the State Fire Marshall prohibits doors from being locked and blocking egress from this facility, in case residents must evacuate during an emergency.

    Under state law, Rock River residents are allowed to attend public schools. As dictated by school district administration, residents are under the complete and exclusive supervision of school authorities while attending classes. It must be noted that half of all this year's runaways occurred at public schools when residents were completely within the charge and control of public school employees. Year-to-date numbers show that 18 of 40 elopements occurred under the exclusive supervision of public schools.

    Providing proper treatment to girls and young women is not a one-size-fits-all protocol. It demands rigorous diligence to devise the best possible treatment care programs that offer the most successful outcomes for residents. Rock River not only provides excellent treatment, it delivers positive results.

    At the Rock River Child Care Facility, a new comprehensive action plan is in place to deter runaways. We regularly meet with our referral sources and most recently had a meeting with Dr. Chuck Redeker and Dr. Mark Ruehl from the Cook County Public Guardian's office to review these formalized efforts to reduce and prevent elopements of DCFS wards. Both were supportive of Rock River's efforts to implement action plans to reduce the risk of elopement. Since the plan was put in place in mid April, the number of elopements has decreased dramatically. The plan includes a performance improvement team and safety quality council which regularly meet to discuss new opportunities to enhance safety for residents and make recommendations to prevent elopements. Analysis of data from previous elopements is used to explore new and better ways to prevent them. For instance, more and better communication is provided during staff changes. Furthermore, additional staff training is provided which teaches clinical techniques that can be used to dissuade residents from leaving and to more proactively provide risk assessments of residents. Physical plant and environmental mechanisms, including egress routes, fencing and delayed locking systems, are also vigorously utilized.


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    Offline Ursus

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    Rock River Academy - address, etc.
    « Reply #5 on: January 02, 2012, 03:36:36 PM »
    According to Merchant Circle, their official address is:

      Rock River Academy
      3445 Elmwood Rd
      Rockford, IL 61101
      815-877-3440[/list]

      Manta File on RRA.
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      Offline Ursus

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      Re: Repost: Runaways from Rock River Academy
      « Reply #6 on: January 02, 2012, 04:14:27 PM »
      Quote from: "Xelebes"
      It is operated by Psychiatric Solutions.  Didn't it get bought out by CEC or whatever the company that Santorum was a director of?
      Apparently, it is now operated by UHS, Inc. See:


      Rock River Academy is also currently looking for a new Executive Director, and ... UHS is noted as the employer:

      -------------- • -------------- • --------------

      Executive Director - Rock River Academy
      job 10 of 17
      Employer Universal Health Services
      Location Rockford, IL
      Job Type Full-Time, Part-Time

      Rock River Residential Center located in Rockford, Illinois, is a residential facility which offers specialized treatment services for female adolescents, ages 10-21, who are experiencing significant emotional, social and/or behavioral difficulties. All Rock River residents attend the Rock River Academy therapeutic day school or attend public schools within the community.

      The Executive Director is responsible for the overall day to day operational/administrative functions for JCRC and CRC. Leadership responsibilities include developing, implementing and evaluating program goals, staff supervision, standard compliance and all administration related duties (fte management, including overtime) to these programs.

      Requirements EXPERIENCE/EDUCATION: Master’s Degree in a health care related field (counseling, social work, psychology) is required as well as (2) two year residential Institutional experience is required.. A minimum of five (5) years experience in a health care management position is required. A minimum of three (3) years supervisory experience is required. It is required to possess a valid Illinois driver’s license with no suspensions or tickets for major traffic violations for at least three years and to pass DCFS Child Care Transportation requirements.
      LICENSURE/CERTIFICATION: LCSW or LCPC is required.


      © 2011 RetirementJobs.com.
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      Offline Ursus

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      Paraprofessional at Streamwood Hospital/Rock River Academy
      « Reply #7 on: January 02, 2012, 04:22:42 PM »
      Here's a job ad for a Paraprofessional at Streamwood Hospital/Rock River Academy, straight from UHS's website:

      -------------- • -------------- • --------------

      Paraprofessional / 1:1 - 8am-3pm

      Job Code:     64167
      Facility:    Streamwood Hospital
      Location:
         ROCKFORD, IL US
      Region:    
      Travel Involved:    None
      Job Type:    Per Diem
      Job Level:     
      Minimum Education Required:
         High School or equivalent
      Skills:    
      Category:    Education
      FTE:    .001
      Position Summary:

      Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHS) is one of the nation's largest and most respected health care management companies, operating through its subsidiaries acute care hospitals, behavioral health facilities and ambulatory centers nationwide. Founded in 1978, UHS subsidiaries now have more than 65,000 employees. The UHS business strategy is to build or purchase health care properties in rapidly growing markets and create a strong franchise based on exceptional service and effective cost control. Our success comes from a responsive management style and a service philosophy based on integrity, competence and compassion

      Rock River Residential Center (RRARC) located in Rockford, Illinois, is a residential facility which offers specialized treatment services for female adolescents, ages 10-21, who are experiencing significant emotional, social and/or behavioral difficulties. RRARC has a Paraprofessional / 1:1 position available. The candidate selected will be responsible for the following:

      Under the direction of the Principal, the Para Professional Aide provides students with educational and behavioral programs that will enable them to reach their fullest educational potential, while rebuilding their self-esteem.
           
      Requirements
      A high school diploma or GED is required. Knowledge of educational, child development and classroom teaching/management theories with a good understanding of educational and therapeutic interventions is preferred. It is required to possess a valid Illinois driver’s license with no suspensions or tickets for major traffic violations for at least three years. I.S.B.E. Paraprofessional certificate and/or I.S.B.E. Substitute Certificate is required.
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      Offline Ursus

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      Streamwood Hospital's residential programs
      « Reply #8 on: January 03, 2012, 08:18:53 PM »
      Rock River Academy is one of three residential facilities of the Streamwood Behavioral Healthcare System:


      • Community Residential Center, Streamwood, Illinois
        This program is designed to treat young men, ages 13-16 at time of admission, who have a history of sexually aggressive behaviors and are at risk for continuing this behavior without intervention. The length of program treatment is 18-24 months based on the individual needs of the adolescent.
      • John Costigan Residential Center, Streamwood, Illinois
        The units at JCRC are separated by gender and age serving male and female adolescents ages 13-21 with severe primary psychiatric disorders in conjunction with developmental/cognitive disturbances. This may include mental retardation, severe learning disorders, neuropsychiatry and pervasive developmental disorders. The length of program treatment is variable based on individual needs of the adolescent.
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      Offline Oscar

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      Re: Repost: Runaways from Rock River Academy
      « Reply #9 on: April 27, 2012, 08:19:43 AM »
      It is easy to understand why they ran. Now it has been converted into a therapeutic day school:

      Juvenile Detention employee charged with molesting girls
      By staff writer Jeff Kolkey, RRstar.com, Jan 06, 2012

      ROCKFORD — A Winnebago County Juvenile Detention Center officer and Rock River Academy staffer is facing charges that he molested two girls.

      Ellis W. Simmons, 33, of Rockford is being held on $100,000 bond and facing three counts of criminal sexual abuse stemming from incidents that occurred between July 1 and Dec. 23, Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announced at a news conference Friday.

      Simmons is accused of sexually abusing two girls, ages 7 and 8, Bruscato said. The abuse is alleged to have occurred over a six-month period between July 1 and December, said Deputy State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross.

      Bruscato declined to fully describe how Simmons knew the girls but said this wasn’t a random attack and he knew the girls before the incidents. However, Bruscato said neither knew Simmons from his places of employment. The alleged abuse did not involve or occur at either location.

      He has been placed on administrative leave from both positions, Bruscato said.

      “The two minors were not involved in either the detention center or the Rock River Academy. However, the investigation is ongoing,” Bruscato said.

      Bruscato said authorities are requesting anyone with information regarding Simmons to come forward.

      Simmons was a detention center officer in a position that would be akin to the job of corrections officer or guard at an adult jail facility, said Dennis Meyers, director of court services.

      The detention center, 5350 North Rock Drive, is responsible for the care, custody and supervision of minors charged with crimes. Meyers said Simmons was immediately placed on leave when the allegations came to light a week ago and was then placed on unpaid leave when he was arrested Thursday.

      Simmons passed a criminal-background check when he was hired at the Detention Center in April 2008.

      It’s unclear what Simmons’ length of employment and duties were at the Rock River Academy, 3445 Elmwood Road, a therapeutic day school for fifth- through 12th-graders who have behavioral problems.

      Streamwood Behavioral Healthcare System CEO Roxane Harcourt did not immediately return a phone call seeking more information.

      Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony punishable by three to seven years in prison or probation followed by two years’ mandatory supervised release and registration as a sex offender for life.
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