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Youth Villages Update Dec. 27, 2023

Unfortunately, Ben Crump continues to make false and misleading statements, which has been the case since this tragic loss of a child. We reiterate there were no abusive or otherwise inappropriate actions against the youth.

We are waiting for the autopsy report before commenting on anything medical. We have offered to meet with Mr. Crump and his staff, including the opportunity to review the video. They have so far declined.

Given the discussion of the video today, here’s what we can say about the events that occurred on Nov. 16:

  • The youth was receiving help at our girls’ center for intensive residential treatment – a psychiatric residential treatment facility. The medical emergency occurred following an off-campus medical visit. 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 disrobe in front of male staff.
  • At the health center, the youth had an aggressive episode in which she physically attacked Youth Villages staff members. Youth Villages staff tried to deescalate the situation and calm the youth down, but that was unsuccessful. Three staff members were injured as they tried to help her. Because she was at risk of harming herself or others, they used a therapeutic hold.
    • Therapeutic holds are used as our last resort measure when a young person poses an imminent risk of harm to themselves or others.
    • Therapeutic holds are designed to help the child calm down and regulate their behavior. A therapeutic hold involves briefly physically holding a child in the least-restrictive way to protect the safety of the child and our staff. This involves trained and certified staff members holding a child’s arms and legs while the child is standing and ensuring the child’s head and airway are protected. A nurse or other trained medical professional oversees therapeutic holds to continuously confirm the young person’s safety. All therapeutic holds are also time limited based on the youth’s age.
    • The therapeutic hold was conducted following our crisis prevention protocols by staff members who are highly trained and certified in conducting such holds.
  • Police were called in response to her aggressive episode.
  • The child was then taken by the police back to the girls’ center, with Youth Villages staff following behind the squad car.
  • Given her earlier aggressive episode, our staff were awaiting her arrival. Additionally, as a psychiatric health care facility, it is common practice to wear medical gloves as a precautionary measure for the health and safety of everyone in a potential or active crisis.
  • When the youth returned to the girls’ center, she had another aggressive episode in the center’s lobby during which she physically attacked a staff member.
  • Because she was again at risk of harming herself or others, Youth Villages staff began a therapeutic hold to help her calm down and regulate her emotions.
  • She was never placed in a headlock.
  • The youth continued to be aggressive in the therapeutic hold. As a result of the youth’s movement, the hold occurred in the side of the lobby.
  • The young people in our care are continually supported by physicians 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) was also called and arrived onsite within minutes.
  • As part of the emergency medical intervention, CPR was performed on the child by both Youth Villages nursing staff and, upon their arrival, Emergency Medical Services.
  • She was transported to St. Francis Hospital, where she remained for eight to nine hours before being transferred to Methodist Hospital Germantown. She died several days later.

Our staff are trained in behavioral interventions and follow strict protocols when working with the young people we serve. Specifically, our staff undergo training in the Crisis Prevention Institute’s (CPI) techniques for de-escalation and crisis prevention, as well as safety training, when first hired. Residential staff receive ongoing CPI and safety training every three to six months depending on their position 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.

At Youth Villages, our mission is to help children and families live successfully. As such, we are committed to doing all we can to ensure that the young people we serve are able heal, grow, and develop the tools and skills necessary to go forward to lead safe and productive lives.