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General Update 12-01-2023


We continue to be heartbroken by the loss of a child following a medical emergency that occurred at one of our campuses two weeks ago. We care about every young person that we help. We are saddened by this tragic event, and our thoughts continue to be with the child’s family during this difficult time.

Due to confidentiality laws involving children who receive mental and behavioral health care, we cannot discuss the details of individual cases and the health issues related to youth receiving help in our programs. However, we can confirm that many of the statements and comments circulating about the incident are false and inaccurate. Specifically, there were no abusive or otherwise inappropriate interactions directed toward the child.

Based on continued review of the incident, here is what we can confirm.

On Nov. 16, a child in our care experienced a medical emergency. We do not know the cause of the medical emergency. The young people in our care are continually supported by physicians, nurse practitioners, and nursing staff. As soon as the child exhibited symptoms of a medical emergency, our staff immediately responded following our protocols for emergency medical intervention. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were called and arrived onsite within minutes. The child was transported by ambulance to the hospital and passed away several days later.

At our intensive residential center for girls in Tennessee, we provide trauma-informed, intensive therapy and care to girls with the most severe mental and emotional behavioral challenges who have a history of trauma. Any time a child in our care at this facility requires an off-campus medical visit, our protocol is for that child to be escorted to the appointment by two female staff members. Prior to the medical emergency, the child was transported to the Shelby County Health Department by two female staff members for a medical exam due to a health concern raised by the child. At the health center, the child was never alone with male staff or asked to remove clothing in front of male staff.

While most Youth Villages services are provided to children, families and young people in homes and communities, we have provided care to children in greatest need of support on our residential campuses for nearly 40 years. Our residential programs are designed to help young people heal, overcome serious emotional and behavioral challenges, and quickly develop the tools and skills necessary to return home to their families and communities. The care and well-being of the young people we help is always our most important concern.

Our staff are trained in behavioral interventions and follow strict protocols when working with the young people we serve. Specifically, our staff is highly trained in the Crisis Prevention Institute’s (CPI) techniques and safety training and receive regular ongoing CPI training to learn the latest, most effective methods for helping children in crisis.

All interventions are reviewed internally, and, if necessary, are subject to third-party review. Our leadership staff has reviewed all the interventions in this case, and we believe that the protocols that we have in place were followed correctly.

We have been working closely with all relevant public safety and health authorities in response to this incident and are awaiting the official medical reports. This has included providing surveillance camera footage of the incident to all relevant public safety and health authorities. Due to confidentiality and privacy laws, we do not publicly share surveillance camera footage.

We will continue to provide updates as we are able.