MDHHS Director Robert Gordon Issues Statement About Actions Department is Taking in Response to Death of Youth at Kalamazoo Facility; Department Releases Investigation Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 22, 2020

CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, wheatonb@michigan.gov

Below is a statement from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon about the death of a youth at Lakeside for Children in Kalamazoo:

“On May 1, a young man died because of restraints wrongly applied at a facility licensed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). It was a tragedy and an outrage. We cannot bring this young man back to life, but we will not rest until we have changed the system that allowed his death. At the direction of Governor Whitmer, MDHHS Children’s Services Agency Executive Director JooYeun Chang and I – along with the entire Children’s Services team – are committed to bringing needed change.

 

“Specific steps we will take include the following: With help from Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family Programs and the Building Bridges Initiative, we are reviewing and reforming our policies for child caring institutions to address challenges before they become tragedies. We will cease to allow physical restraints like the ones that cost this young man his life. We have begun the process to revoke licensing for the facility where this youth died. And we are taking steps so that Sequel Youth and Family Services – the company that manages the facility where the young man died – will no longer provide services for facilities licensed by our department."

The Lakeside licensing investigation report can be found on the MDHHS website.

 

# # #