State revokes child care license following injury

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin officials have revoked the license of a Prairie du Chien residential care center for lower-functioning children where a child was seriously injured in June.

The state Department of Children and Families sent a letter Sept. 20 notifying the Wyalusing Academy that its license was being revoked, the Wisconsin State Journal reported Wednesday ( ).

The letter said that the academy “failed to ensure the health, safety and welfare of children in its care” when a child was severely injured after a June 24 incident at the center, then did not seek outside medical attention for more than 24 hours afterward.

Wyalusing Academy is a residential treatment center for children and adolescents who are lower functioning or significantly below grade level. It’s licensed to accept those with emotional disorders, conduct disorders, behavior disorders, neurological impairment, aggressive behavior and other issues, its website says. The academy generally has about 70 residents, who come from Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and elsewhere. Most residents are placed by county human service departments, and some are diverted from jail facilities.

The academy continues to operate pending its appeal of the revocation. For now, it isn’t allowed to accept new residents.

The center’s executive director, Mary Beth Specht, said in a statement that it looks forward to meeting with the state to discuss operations and how the facility can continue to operate. Specht declined to be interviewed, citing the ongoing review by the state.

The injured child’s age, gender and specific injuries have not been released. The academy said it doesn’t comment on the medical conditions of residents, both because they are minors and in accordance with federal privacy rules.

The revocation notice said the initial injury stemming from the incident occurred “after a series of three restraints” were performed on the child by three staffers at about 9 a.m. on June 24.

The notice letter from DCF said Wyalusing failed to provide appropriate care, including medical evaluation, to the child after the injury.


Information from: Wisconsin State Journal,

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