Are children safe? Inspectors find significant issues at five Nevada facilities
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - State inspectors question the safety of children in five different facilities in Nevada, according to a new state report. The facilities include youth homes, detention locations, and a healing center in Nye County. The state inspected 19 children’s facilities where they suspected there may be issues. Five did not pass their test. That includes one location that’s made headlines for years.
The State of Nevada issued the report after a yearlong inspection of childcare centers across Nevada at both government-run and private facilities. The purpose: to determine if the facilities adequately protect the health, safety, and welfare of the children. A legislative auditor identified “significant issues” and uncovered a pattern of lax oversight and weak policies at five facilities including a youth addiction treatment center in Las Vegas, a foster care program in Reno and the Never Give Up Youth Healing Center, an embattled residential psychiatric facility in Nye County.
Surrounded by miles of open desert, Never Give Up is located on the former campus of the now-shuttered Northwest Academy, the state’s only private boarding school before it was shut down on Valentine’s Day 2019. The married owners were arrested on a combined 90 counts of child abuse and neglect. Back in 2019, FOX5 spoke to then-13-year-old Tanner after his mom pulled him out of the school alleging abuse.
“If I would of like fought back, I would have gotten in a lot of trouble I guess supposedly, so I just kind of sat there and took it I guess.”
In the new state report, Never Give Up was the only institution threatened with a fine by the state.
Here are the five facilities identified in the report and the issues found.
Never Give Up Youth Healing Center
We noted health, safety, welfare, and other issues at Never Give Up Youth Healing Center. Health issues included: incomplete and missing medication records, administration of medication without consent, and staff were unaware of children’s treatment plans. Safety issues included: unsecured laundry supplies and chemicals, damaged property that posed safety hazards, missing statutorily required personnel records and training, missing documentation that an incident was reported in accordance with mandated reporting requirements or investigated internally in accordance with facility policy, and face sheets were not readily available to staff. Welfare issues included: unsanitary living conditions; beds missing pillowcases, sheets, and bed coverings; inappropriate age-related activities; and unsecured complaint boxes. Other issues included incomplete training records and policies and procedures were weak.
Nevada Homes for Youth
We noted health, safety, welfare, and other issues at Nevada Homes for Youth. Health issues included: incomplete and inaccurate medication records, children self-administering medication, missing medication, contraband, child intoxication, and missing treatment plans. Safety issues included: unsecured chemicals, outdated first aid kit supplies, broken electrical outlets, a broken window, missing statutorily required personnel records, and face sheets were not readily available to staff. Welfare issues included: unsanitary living conditions, inappropriate age-related activities, and the complaint process was not posted. Other issues included: incomplete training records, incomplete and altered child records, and policies and procedures were weak.
3 Angels Care
We noted health, safety, welfare, and other issues at three of 3 Angels Care homes. Health issues included incomplete and missing medication records and a missed medication administration for a child. Safety issues included: unsecured tools, chemicals, and laundry supplies; an outside locking storage room being used as a place to sleep; children of opposite gender sharing a room; and lack of supervision. A welfare issue included the use of a storage room as a “quiet room.” Other issues included incomplete personnel records and policies and procedures were weak.
Advanced Foster Care Homes
We noted health, safety, welfare, and other issues at two homes licensed by the Advanced Foster Care program. Health issues included incomplete and missing medication records and incomplete and missing treatment plans. Safety issues included: unsecured tools, chemicals, and knives; fire escapes were not posted, and documentation of fire drills were missing; storage of medication was not readily available; and missing documentation to support a repeat background check for a foster parent. Welfare issues included: complaint forms not being readily available, the complaint process not being posted, no documentation that children were made aware of their right to file a complaint, and a complaint on behalf of a child was not forwarded to the Legislative Auditor. Other issues included missing and incomplete training records and policies and procedures were weak.
Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)
In two of eight correction and detention facilities inspected, we noted issues that prompted us to question whether the facilities adequately implemented a PREA process in accordance with federal regulations. PREA standards require the facilities to use a screening tool to assess children for sexual victimization or abusiveness. Two facilities used a screening tool which did not assess for 10 of 11 items required by screening standards.
The state notified Never Give Up’s administrator in September, it intended to fine the facility $8,000, citing the range of failures.
Never Give Up did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press on the conditions detailed by the state in the new report.
The state review of child care centers comes just three months after a U.S. Justice Department investigation found Nevada was failing its children with behavioral disabilities by relying too heavily on institutionalization.
You can read the full report here.
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