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California Youth Claims Abuse in Montana Treatment CenterSalem-News.com
A 14-year old child reports being secluded and restrained in his own blood at Montana Residential Treatment Center, but they won't give his parents or attorneys access.
(BILLINGS, Mt.) - Jeremy Ellis, a 14 year old Laguna Beach special education student who is currently placed at Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch, a therapeutic treatment center located in Billings, Montana, claims the facility abused him.
In a letter to his attorney, Leejanice Toback, Jeremy described how doors were slammed into his face and he has been put in seclusion or restraints, lying in a puddle of his own blood.
In the letter, Jeremy described how a staff member slammed doors in his face twice, causing his face to bleed and how he has regularly been put in seclusion and/or restraints for over one hour, denied medical attention and given nothing to stop the bleeding. In addition Jeremy reports how he has been punched and kicked by a particular male staff member. He has told his mother that his therapist regularly refers to him and other children as "morons."
Jeremy was referred to Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch by Orange County Mental Health Services. Jeremy's attorney, Leejanice Toback, originally requested a placement at Villa Santa Maria in New Mexico, but Orange County Mental Health Services refused, stating that the facility was not on their agency's approved list.
After receiving Jeremy's letter, Ms. Toback phoned Yellowstone's C.E.O. Glenn McFarlane. He is alleged to have refused Ms. Toback's demand to report the incident to the Montana Child Protective Services Agency. Mr. McFarlane told Ms. Toback that Yellowstone would do its own investigation.
Ms. Tobak says McFarlane stated that, "if we reported all these complaints, we would spend all our time reporting incidents to Child Protective Services." Dave Schwarm, the Quality Improvement Specialist from Yellowstone confirmed to Ms. Toback she says, that in the last month there were at least three child abuse allegations made. She says he stated that according to his records, Jeremy is self abusing. When asked about evidence to support that claim, he hung up.
Written requests to the facility to cease abuse of the child have gone unheeded, attorneys and family members say. As of October 8th, Yellowstone reported to Jeremy's mother that he was again put in restraints, this time for touching his nose.
Jeremy's parents and his attorney are trying to relocate him to a safe and secure treatment center, but they have been unsuccessful due to the records generated by Yellowstone painting Jeremy as uncontrollable and self injurious and the lack of cooperation by Orange County Heath Care Agency, who are insisting that Jeremy be transferred to a particular approved facility which has ten locked seclusion rooms for their one hundred twelve residents.
"Parents place their special education children in these facilities for the purpose of treatment and structure, not so that they can be brutalized. We treat prisoners better than this", Ms. Toback stated.
"The full color brochures and videos that these places prepare don't have pictures of kids secluded in stark rooms with no pictures, toys, books or music or restrained by adults three times their size."
A recent Cornell University study found that over a ten year period there were forty-five deaths of children and adolescents in residential facilities due to the use of restraints.
Jeremy's family is considering all options, including legal actionagainst Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch.
Source: Wire report
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