CLEVELAND—A Catholic church-run treatment center where a disruptive teenage girl died while being restrained by staff members has fired three workers involved in the incident, the facility’s president said.
The employees were fired Friday following the release of an Ohio Department of Job and Family Services report that said the workers at Parmadale Family Services didn’t follow the center’s own policies, said Tom Mullen, the president of the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Cleveland.
Cuyahoga County Coroner Frank P. Miller ruled Faith Finley’s Dec. 13 death a homicide last month, saying she choked on vomit and suffocated while being held in a face-down position.
Mullen has said that the staff at the suburban Cleveland facility is instructed to use a face-up restraint method. The center is licensed by several state agencies.
Ohio leaves it up to individual agencies to set their own regulations regarding how to perform restraints, which are blamed for at least 40 child deaths in the U.S. since 1993. Gov. Ted Strickland last month formed a committee that will develop one state policy for the use of restraints.
“I’m hopeful that there will be consistency across the state for all youngsters,“ Mullen said.
Agencies in at least 14 other states have severely curtailed or banned some restraints, most commonly the face-down variety, which is increasingly considered dangerous because it can reduce a person’s ability to breathe. The Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities has already banned its use.
The Department of Job and Family Services report also said the center couldn’t provide documentation that Finley’s medication had been properly distributed and didn’t follow behavior management policies outlined by the department.
Staff members also violated her rights with the use of the restraint because the 17-year-old had the right to be free of “physical abuse and inhumane treatment,“ the report said.
Finley had been at the center for several months. After her death, Summit County removed from Parmadale the one dozen or so youngsters sent there by the county.
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