Author Topic: KIDS CHOKED, STRIPPED, BEATEN AT FACILITIES  (Read 8238 times)

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Offline Awake

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KIDS CHOKED, STRIPPED, BEATEN AT FACILITIES
« on: June 07, 2010, 11:44:48 AM »
KIDS CHOKED, STRIPPED, BEATEN AT FACILITIES

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/met ... 38620.html

250 cases of abuse include a staff-provoked fight among 7 girls

By TERRI LANGFORD and EMILY RAMSHAW

HOUSTON CHRONICLE and TEXAS TRIBUNE
June 6, 2010, 11:33AM


Workers at a center for distressed children provoked seven developmentally disabled girls into a fight of biting and bruising as staffers laughed, cheered and promised the winners a precious prize: after-school snacks.

Four of the girls were injured, according to records obtained by the Houston Chronicle and The Texas Tribune. State officials learned of the incident at Daystar Residential Inc. in Manvel the day after it occurred, when a Daystar employee doing health checks found bite marks, scrapes and bruises on the girls' bodies.

The fight was one of more than 250 incidents of confirmed abuse and mistreatment in residential treatment centers during the past two years, based on the Chronicle/Tribune review of state records.

But unlike last year's scandal at the Corpus Christi State School, where staffers were found to have forced mentally disabled adults to fight one another, there were no impassioned calls for reform. No criminal indictments sought against the perpetrators. And no lawmakers publicly grilling a state agency about how it could have happened.

Instead, the two staffers at Daystar, a child residential treatment center located 30 minutes south of Houston, were quietly fired after the fight in 2008.

To this day, the names of the pair — a dorm supervisor and another female worker — are kept secret by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, even though the center, contracted by the state to provide care, has received $16 million in taxpayer money since 2006.

“Why I'm outraged is, the department hid this from us,” said state Rep. Patrick Rose, D-Dripping Springs. “This is another example of us having to find out about systemic failures through the press, as opposed to proactively from the department. … We could've fixed this problem last session when we were addressing a very similar issue.”

Choking, punching

Residential treatment center records reviewed by the Chronicle and Tribune show state investigators confirmed hundreds of violations from mid-2008 through April of this year — at least 250 of them involving abuse, neglect and mistreatment. All of those centers remain in operation today.

Workers choked and punched kids to get them to behave. Children who were supposed to be supervised attempted suicide. Kids were threatened with corporal punishment and forced to strip down to their underwear so they wouldn't run away. In some cases, residents engaged in sexual acts with peers, with staff members and, in one case, with a staffer's relative.

In the past five years, six facilities — three of them in the Houston area — have been shut down or denied a license, but none of those was still operating between 2008 and the present, the time frame in which data was reviewed by the Chronicle and Tribune.

One was closed because of a child's death and others because of a failure to maintain standards or repeated deficiencies.

In the staged fight at Daystar in April 2008, state inspection records show the two employees gathered the seven “developmentally delayed” girls, ranging in age from 12 to 17, and forced them to fight.

DFPS investigated, confirmed the abuse, and cited Daystar over several deficiencies — but didn't put the facility on suspension or probation.

Daystar attorney John Carsey said the state's conclusions are “misleading and frankly incorrect.” He says the company fired two female employees who failed to intervene in a shoving match between two girls — not seven — that resulted in some hair-pulling and nothing more.

“Nobody got hurt,” said Carsey, who declined to provide copies of the company's internal investigation.

DFPS stands by its findings.

“We are very disappointed in Daystar's characterization of this very serious incident and their criticism of our investigation,” said Sasha Rasco, DFPS' assistant commissioner of child care licensing. “These employees staged a fight between these children and cheered as the fight occurred. A medical examination found four of the girls were injured.”

DFPS did not revisit the fight at Daystar — or report it up the chain — in early 2009, when police stumbled onto cell phone videos of workers at the Corpus Christi State School forcing profoundly disabled residents to fight each other.

“Nobody ever came up from (DFPS) and told us,” said Jay Kimbrough, who was Gov. Rick Perry's chief of staff when the Corpus Christi fight club news broke. “And ‘fight club' was a magic phrase, a defined term at that point.”

The Corpus Christi fights, staged the same spring the Daystar incident occurred, brought inflamed criticism from those in the disability community, prompted Perry to place a moratorium on state school admissions, and led to the conviction of six workers on charges of injury to a disabled person.

The state poured money into the Department of Aging and Disability Services, which oversees state schools, to install security cameras and other safety measures.

DFPS “should've stepped up and said, ‘This is bad, this is evil, and we are holding everyone accountable,'?” said Jeff Garrison-Tate, whose nonprofit Community Now works for people with disabilities. “You think, ‘How could it get worse than the Corpus Christi fight club?' Only in Texas could it get worse.”

Troubled children

Since 2006, residential treatment centers have received more than $300 million to care for the most troubled or disabled children taken into foster care. Children placed at a residential treatment center are there because basic care for them is not enough. They are likely to bear deeper emotional scars, and some, in social worker parlance, “act out, sexually.”

Others have turned to alcoholism or drug addiction. Some struggle with depression or developmental disabilities.

“Each child in one of these facilities is troubled, typically with serious emotional disturbance and/or mental health issues,” said DFPS spokesman Patrick Crimmins. “These centers are designed to provide treatment for them.”

The state contracts with about 80 residential treatment centers, nearly half of them in the Houston area.

The state workers at the Corpus Christi State School were arrested and later convicted of felonies. DFPS officials say they referred the Daystar matter to local law enforcement. But both the Manvel Police Department and the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office say they never received any notification.

DFPS refused to release the report it filed with law enforcement and said it couldn't prove notification was sent; the agency deletes all faxed records after 30 days.

Drugs, sexual contact

The Chronicle/Tribune review of state inspection reports and other records revealed dozens of incidents of serious abuse and neglect, including physical beatings and failing to report attempted suicides and allegations of sexual assault.

Unmonitored youth escaped, stole vehicles, and started fires. Staff failed to report sexual contact among young kids and provided others with alcohol and illegal drugs.

Workers punished kids with dangerous physical restraints or long periods of confinement — sometimes without their clothes. Among the incidents:

• At the Brookhaven facility in McLennan County, a child who was supposed to be monitored at all times left the room and attempted to hang himself with his shoelaces. A second child swallowed 30 psychotropic pills. Within months of those incidents, a staffer choked a child and struck him with a milk crate.

• ?At Houston's Serenity residential treatment center, staffers forced residents to strip down to their boxers and take off their shoes to prevent them from running away.

• At the Avalon Center in Eddy, staff didn't intervene when a young girl ran into the highway and yelled for oncoming traffic to hit her.

• ?A staffer slammed a door on a resident's head at the Guardian Angels residential treatment center in Houston.

DFPS insists that disciplinary actions do not have to take the form of license suspensions to improve care. In the incidents above, Crimmins said three firings resulted and center policies were changed.

DFPS officials do say, however, there should have been a more elaborate investigation into the Daystar incident.

“We should have conducted more follow-up, with interviews of the children and other Daystar employees to make sure that this was an isolated incident and to make sure that there was nothing in the prior performance of the two employees that might have indicated problems,” Crimmins said.

‘Not a perfect system'

The fired Daystar employees' names were added to Texas' abuse/neglect registry, which means they shouldn't be hired to work in direct care again.

“We believe this operation acted appropriately in response to this incident,” Crimmins said. “It is not a perfect system, but our goal is constant improvement and to make these operations as safe as possible.”

Rose, who chairs the House Human Services Committee, said he intends to make some safeguards mandatory, including a requirement that a surprise inspection be done within 30 days of an abuse incident.

“My office, our committee, will work to move the department in this direction immediately,” Rose said. “Unless we're made aware of the problems, we're left responding to them, as opposed to fixing them. Here, clearly, the department did a poor job of reporting systemic failure to the Legislature.”


This investigation is a partnership of the Texas Tribune and Houston Chronicle.

[email protected]



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Offline Ursus

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Re: KIDS CHOKED, STRIPPED, BEATEN AT FACILITIES
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2010, 11:59:57 AM »
Pic from the above article:


Daystar Residential Inc. in Manvel was the site of a fight among troubled youth competing for after-school snacks.?
Nick de la Torre Chronicle
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Eliscu2

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Re: KIDS CHOKED, STRIPPED, BEATEN AT FACILITIES
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2010, 03:18:11 PM »
That looks like a Trailer to me........ :jawdrop:
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Offline Ursus

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Re: KIDS CHOKED, STRIPPED, BEATEN AT FACILITIES
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2010, 03:45:57 PM »
Quote from: "Eliscu2"
That looks like a Trailer to me........
My guess is that you are right. Daystar Residential has notoriously housed their kids in trailers.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Inculcated

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Re: KIDS CHOKED, STRIPPED, BEATEN AT FACILITIES
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2010, 12:22:02 AM »
Sadly, there have been other such incidents of similar bloodsport abuses. That these so closely followed one another incited an outcry and calls for change."fight club" at the Corpus Christi State School< Related Fornits thread

"Not long after the incident at Daystar Residential Inc. in Manvel, Texas police stumbled on to cell phone videos of workers at a Corpus Christi institution forcing fights between male residents with intellectual disabilities. That case prompted public outrage, criminal convictions for six workers, and enhanced security measures at state institutions."-From patriciae bauer.com (News and commentary on disability issues)
Gallego Requests "Fight Club" Investigation-Texas Tribune
Quote
State Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, has asked the House Committee on General Investigating and Ethics to review how the Department of Family and Protective Services licenses, reviews and oversees residential treatment centers for foster kids. His move follows a Texas Tribune/Houston Chronicle story that revealed that developmentally disabled girls were forced to fight each other at a youth facility in Manvel
In a letter to committee chair Chuck Hopson, R-Jacksonville, Gallego expressed concern that, although the employees involved in the abuse were fired, there were no formal inquiries into the incident by lawmakers and the agency has chosen to keep certain records — including those that identify the former employees — secret.
"This has developed into a statewide epidemic with serious emotional, physical and mental consequences for some of the most vulnerable citizens of Texas," Gallego wrote. "...I look forward to addressing these issues during the interim so that during the upcoming session we can put an end to the horrific abuse of those who need treatment in our state."
No word yet on a Hopson response.
Gallego Letter PDF
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Ursus

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Texas Residential Treatment Center Violations
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2010, 07:20:55 PM »
From the article in the OP, "Kids choked, stripped, beaten at facilities":
Quote
The fight was one of more than 250 incidents of confirmed abuse and mistreatment in residential treatment centers during the past two years, based on the Chronicle/Tribune review of state records.
Here's a summary of those >250 incidents and the facilities at which they took place. Follow the link to look at the maps and get a little more info.

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Map: Residential Treatment Center Violations

The database includes violations that were confirmed at Texas' licensed residential treatment centers over the last two years by inspectors from the Department of Family and Protective Services. Not all violations in that time period are included — just those Tribune researchers found to include abuse, neglect or serious mistreatment. The records analyzed come from the agency's licensing website. Incidents are not included on the website until the RTC has had its due process, or waived its rights.

Residential Treatment Center | City | County | Capacity | Serious Incidents

Avalon Center, Inc | Eddy | Falls | 32 | 17
    Avalon Center, Inc
    480 Hwy 7
    Eddy, TX, 76524
    Incidents: 17
    Phone: 254-859-5990
    Email:
[/size]Totally Fit Ministries | Crosby | Harris | 18 | 15
    Totally Fit Ministries
    10510 Crosby Lynchburg
    Crosby, TX, 77532
    Incidents: 15
    Phone: 281-426-5098
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]San Marcos Treatment Center | San Marcos | Hays | 265 | 10
    San Marcos Treatment Center
    120 Bert Brown Road
    San Marcos, TX, 78666
    Incidents: 10
    Phone: 512-396-8500
    Email:
[/size]Brookhaven Youth Ranch | West | Mclennan | 71 | 10
    Brookhaven Youth Ranch
    5467 Rogers Hill Rd
    West, TX, 76691
    Incidents: 10
    Phone: 254-829-1920
    Email:
[/size]New Horizons Ranch Residential Treatment Center | Goldthwaite | Mills | 100 | 9
    New Horizons Ranch Residential Treatment Center
    850 F M 574 W
    Goldthwaite, TX, 76844
    Incidents: 9
    Phone: 325-938-5518
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]Devereux-Victoria | Victoria | Victoria | 85 | 9
    Devereux-Victoria
    120 David Wade
    Victoria, TX, 77905
    Incidents: 9
    Phone: 361-575-8271
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]Azleway Boys Ranch | Tyler | Smith | 74 | 7
    Azleway Boys Ranch
    15892 Cr 26
    Tyler, TX, 75707
    Incidents: 7
    Phone: 903-566-6827
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]Texas Adolescent Treatment Center | San Antonio | Bexar | 145 | 6   
    Texas Adolescent Treatment Center
    8550 Huebner
    San Antonio, TX, 78240
    Incidents: 6
    Phone: 210-568-8500
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]Meridell Achievement Center | Liberty Hill | Williamson   134 | 5
    Meridell Achievement Center
    12550 West Hwy. 29
    Liberty Hill, TX, 78642
    Incidents: 5
    Phone: 512-528-2100
    Email:
[/size]Helping Hand Home for Children | Austin | Travis | 41 | 4
    Helping Hand Home for Children
    3804 Avenue B
    Austin, TX, 78751
    Incidents: 4
    Phone: 512-459-3353
    Email:
[/size]HMIH Cedar Crest., LLC | Belton | Bell | 72 | 4
    HMIH Cedar Crest., LLC
    3500 S. Ih-35
    Belton, TX, 76513
    Incidents: 4
    Phone: 254-939-2100
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]Pegasus Schools, Inc. | Lockhart | Caldwell | 175 | 4
    Pegasus Schools, Inc.
    896 Robin Ranch Rd.
    Lockhart, TX, 78644
    Incidents: 4
    Phone: 512-376-2101
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]Unity Children's Home | Spring | Harris | 48 | 4
    Unity Children's Home
    2111 River Valley
    Spring, TX, 77373
    Incidents: 4
    Phone: 281-355-0716
    Email:
[/size]Nelson Childrens Residential Treatment | Denton | Denton | 65 | 3   
    Nelson Childrens Residential Treatment
    4601 Interstate 35 North
    Denton, TX, 76207
    Incidents: 3
    Phone: 940-484-8232
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]Mary Ruth | Missouri City | Fort Bend | 13 | 3
    Mary Ruth
    16711 Quail View Court
    Missouri City, TX, 77489
    Incidents: 3
    Phone: 281-416-7822
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]Autistic Treatment Center, Inc. | Dallas | Dallas | 31 | 2
    Autistic Treatment Center, Inc.
    10503 Metric Drive
    Dallas, TX, 75243
    Incidents: 2
    Phone: 972-644-2076
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]Canyon Lakes Residential Treatment Center | Lubbock | Lubbock | 40 | 2
    Canyon Lakes Residential Treatment Center
    2402 Canyon Lakes Dr
    Lubbock, TX, 79415
    Incidents: 2
    Phone: 806-762-5782
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]KCI Servants Heart Residential Treatment Center | San Antonio | Bexar | 36 | 2
    KCI Servants Heart Residential Treatment Center
    4040 High Ridge Cir
    San Antonio, TX, 78229
    Incidents: 2
    Phone: 210-212-2500
    Email:
[/size]Sheltering Harbour | Spring | Harris | 65 | 2
    Sheltering Harbour
    17803 W Strack Dr
    Spring, TX, 77379
    Incidents: 2
    Phone: 281-251-8686
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]Sinclair Children's Center | Woodville | Tyler | 35 | 2
    Sinclair Children's Center
    207 Nellius Street
    Woodville, TX, 75979
    Incidents: 2
    Phone: 409-283-6800
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]New Encounters Residential Treatment | Corsicana | Navarro | 14 | 1
    New Encounters Residential Treatment
    4121 Fm Road 637
    Corsicana, TX, 75109
    Incidents: 1
    Phone: 903-874-1577
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]Positive Steps Inc | Houston | Harris | 35 | 1
    Positive Steps Inc
    2701 Rosedale
    Houston, TX, 77004
    Incidents: 1
    Phone: 713-522-0559
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]A Child is Born Residential Treatment Center | Liverpool | Brazoria | 13 | 1
    A Child is Born Residential Treatment Center
    6911 Cr 171
    Liverpool, TX, 77577
    Incidents: 1
    Phone: 281-581-2704
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]Five Oaks Achievement Center | New Ulm | Austin | 40 | 1
    Five Oaks Achievement Center
    7674 Pechacek Road
    New Ulm, TX, 78950
    Incidents: 1
    Phone: 979-992-3791
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]Minolas Place of Texas INC | Spring | Harris | 13 | 1
    Minolas Place of Texas INC
    17940 Country Walk
    Spring, TX, 77379
    Incidents: 1
    Phone: 281-251-7696
    Email:
[/size]Houston Wee Care Shelter Inc | Spring | Harris | 16 | 1
    Houston Wee Care Shelter Inc
    28915 S Plum Creek
    Spring, TX, 77386
    Incidents: 1
    Phone: 281-363-4020
    Email:
[email protected][/list][/size]

© 2010 The Texas Tribune
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Offline Pile of Dead Kids

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Re: KIDS CHOKED, STRIPPED, BEATEN AT FACILITIES
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2010, 07:56:32 PM »
It's so nice to see journalists actually doing investigative journalism.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
...Sergey Blashchishen, James Shirey, Faith Finley, Katherine Rice, Ashlie Bunch, Brendan Blum, Caleb Jensen, Alex Cullinane, Rocco Magliozzi, Elisa Santry, Dillon Peak, Natalynndria Slim, Lenny Ortega, Angellika Arndt, Joey Aletriz, Martin Anderson, James White, Christening Garcia, Kasey Warner, Shirley Arciszewski, Linda Harris, Travis Parker, Omega Leach, Denis Maltez, Kevin Christie, Karlye Newman, Richard DeMaar, Alexis Richie, Shanice Nibbs, Levi Snyder, Natasha Newman, Gracie James, Michael Owens, Carlton Thomas, Taylor Mangham, Carnez Boone, Benjamin Lolley, Jessica Bradford's unnamed baby, Anthony Parker, Dysheka Streeter, Corey Foster, Joseph Winters, Bruce Staeger, Kenneth Barkley, Khalil Todd, Alec Lansing, Cristian Cuellar-Gonzales, Janaia Barnhart, a DRA victim who never even showed up in the news, and yet another unnamed girl at Summit School...