LAS VEGAS (AP) — A year-long inspection of Nevada child care centers in 2022 found a pattern of lax oversight and weak policies at five facilities, a report says Released this month.
Review follows three months of DOJ investigation Findings Nevada is failing children with conduct disorders by over-reliance on institutionalization.
State legislative auditors have found “significant problems” ranging from unsanitary living conditions and children self-administering antipsychotics to unsafe chemicals and tools. In one instance, an ax was left out of the foster family’s table, according to their report. In another location, a locked storage room was used as sleeping quarters, it said.
During inspections between January and November last year, auditors said they found piles of dirty laundry and rubbish, clogged toilets, exposed pipes and bloodstained pillows in the children’s room. They also said they reviewed inventory and documentation at the facilities and found missing medications, medical files and paperwork related to employee training and background checks.
“If I were a parent, I would be mad,” State Democratic Sen. Marilyn Dondero Loop said last week at a meeting of auditors and state lawmakers to discuss the findings. “In my opinion, you shouldn’t be complaining to get things done. They should be right. I hope moving forward, we’re taking care of these vulnerable children.”
In a 25-page report released in October, the Justice Department said the state had failed to “ensure access to community-based services that could deter institutionalization,” resulting in frequent and repeated hospitalizations. Children are often sent to out-of-state long-term residential facilities, “exacerbating the harms of segregation,” the Justice Department report said.
A recent state review echoed that assessment, noting that as of June 2022, more than 100 children had been placed in 14 different facilities across six states. In their report, state legislative auditors examined 19 of 57 state-regulated and licensed child care facilities.
The five institutions that sounded the alarm included a teen addiction treatment center in Las Vegas, a foster care program in Reno and the Never Give Up Teen Recovery Center, an embattled inpatient psychiatric facility in rural Nevada where health and The safety rating was low in a similar review in 2020.
Surrounded by miles of open desert in Nye County, Never Give Up is located on the former campus of the now closed Northwestern Collegethe state’s only private boarding school, the married owners were arrested on a combined 90 child abuse and neglect charges before it closed on Valentine’s Day 2019.
Never Give Up was the only one of five agencies threatened with state fines during inspections last year, the report showed.
The state Department of Health and Human Services notified Never Give Up administrators in September that it intended to fine the facility $8,000 for a string of failures, according to a copy of the sanctions obtained by The Associated Press.
In a separate 65-page report outlining the problems, HHS said Never Give Up failed to maintain its facilities to “ensure the safety and well-being of its residents.” Issues observed in the report included: sagging ceilings, exposed electrical wiring, cracked classroom desks, damaged door latches, missing emergency lights, loose smoke detectors and cables hanging from the ceiling.
Never Give Up was required to submit a remedial plan, which HHS noted in its sanction letter as “acceptable.”
Records show the sanction’s status as “closed,” though it’s unclear from the records whether Never Give Up paid the fine. A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to email and phone requests seeking more information.
A riot has followed since taking over the campus in Amargosa Valley, about 90 miles (144 kilometers) outside Las Vegas Mental hospital outbreak, law enforcement officers have launched an investigation A man has been arrested on physical and sexual abuse charges that he raped a patient and sexually exploited two others while working at Never Give Up, the Review-Journal reports..
Never Give Up did not respond to an emailed request for comment from The Associated Press about the conditions the state detailed in its latest report.
State auditors also inspected eight juvenile detention centers as part of their review. Two of them failed to properly screen children and adolescents for “sexual victimization or abuse” within 72 hours of their arrival, as required by the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, according to the report. Auditors recommended to them facilities not specified in the appropriate risk assessment tool report.
Legislative auditors conducted a separate inspection of Nevada’s adult prison system last year and found widespread deficiencies Include in its use of force procedures an often underestimated number of incidents. During the report’s release, state Department of Corrections officials acknowledged that none of the audit’s 16 recommendations aimed at improving facility operations had been completed.