The state of Utah has the most residential youth treatment centers in the country by a large margin. Unsurprisingly, patients accuse many of these youth treatment centers of abuse. Utah law requires regular inspections to help prevent abuse, but it still happens with disturbing frequency. Some advocates argue that improving the checklist inspectors use could help spot more issues and ultimately prevent more abuse.
Utah Youth Treatment Center Abuse – Inspections
When Utah regulators go to inspect a residential treatment center for troubled teens, they take along a 14-page checklist. As they examine the facility, they mark the checklist to keep track of violations and other areas of concern. Let’s look at some of the problems with the current checklist and some possible improvements.
What’s Wrong With Utah’s Checklist?
- Finds very little wrong with treatment centers. Inspectors found very few problems in the past five years. Regulators assessed more than 53,000 total items and found only 861 deficiencies.
- The most common error was not having proper employee paperwork. If the checklist was focused on how the patients are treated instead of administrative issues, this would not be the case.
- 86% of facilities in the past year received a perfect score. Inspectors conducted many inspections virtually due to the pandemic, but this is still far too high a percentage of “perfect” inspections.
- Focuses on administrative and building code violations. The checklist ensures that every bathroom has a toilet, but not that children are safe from abuse.
How to Improve the Checklist
- Focus on how the facility treats the patients. While there are benefits to making sure facilities are up to code, the main focus of inspections should be patient welfare.
- Consult treatment experts when writing the checklist. The best way to identify proper treatment is to consult an expert.
- Include consideration for abuse accusations. If patients are accusing a facility of abuse, that facility should not be able to obtain a perfect score.
Recent Legislation May Help
Recently, the Utah legislature approved a bill that is designed to help improve the oversite of residential treatment centers in Utah. The bill increases funding and the number of inspectors. These are good things, and we can hope that they will help prevent abuse. However, some advocates argue that even with more inspectors, if they are using a faulty checklist the same problems will result.
Youth Treatment Center Abuse in Utah – We Are Here to Help
Carlson Injury Law Firm is passionate about protecting children and teens from youth treatment center abuse. Our team wants you to know that if you or a loved one has been abused, you deserve a good lawyer. We encourage you to get in touch with our office and tell us your story. Let us help you to determine if you should take legal action.