MDHHS releases videos of improper restraint that led to death of child
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 7, 2020
CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) today released the security video footage that shows the improper restraint of a youth at Lakeside for Children in Kalamazoo who went into cardiac arrest and later died.
MDHHS decided to release two videos in the interest of transparency. To protect the privacy of other youth who witnessed the incident and are shown in the videos, MDHHS has blurred the faces of these youth.
Attorneys for the family of the deceased child released footage earlier today. The videos from MDHHS can be found using the following links: video 1 and video 2. Lakeside provided the videos to MDHHS.
“The incident shown in the videos is outrageous and heartbreaking. We have vowed to do everything in our power to prevent a senseless tragedy like this from happening again,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon.
A 16-year-old placed at Lakeside died May 1 after he was restrained by staff for 12 minutes for throwing food. The video shows staff members laying across the child’s upper torso during the restraint. Following the tragic death, all 125 youth at Lakeside were removed and placed in other appropriate settings based on their individual needs.
The Division of Child Welfare Licensing within MDHHS completed an investigation of Lakeside following the death. The investigation found 10 licensing violations, including a failure to follow rules related to resident restraint and discipline.
MDHHS has since terminated its contracts with Lakeside and has begun the legal process to revoke the facility’s license. MDHHS has begun the overhaul of its policies governing the use of restraints and the oversight of child-caring institutions.
Lakeside is a residential treatment facility for youth. MDHHS contracted with Lakeside for the treatment of youth who were placed through the abuse/neglect or juvenile justice foster care system or by their parents to receive behavioral health services.
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