According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Community Behavioral Health Center has been shut down due to allegations of child abuse.
The psychiatric residential treatment facility was open for only a few months before the allegations serviced. According to the licensing action, the center has been accused of gross incompetence, negligence, misconduct, and failure to comply with department regulations.
Staff allegedly were asleep or on their phones when they were meant to monitor the children when inspectors came to the facility. The staff allegedly did not do their required checks for hours at a time. Additionally, there were allegations of staff using unusual discipline and inappropriate restraints, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The facility has 12 beds and was housing six youth between 14 and 18-years-old. The children have not yet been removed from the facility as only serious and imminent safety, and health concerns are considered emergency removal. Additionally, finding a safe placement for the children is essential for DHS.
At the moment, there are no known reports of sexual abuse at the Community Behavioral Health psychiatric center.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent is an experienced abuse lawyer and represents victims of abuse in civil lawsuits. Below, Brian provides commentary on the legal options of victims abused at a psychiatric center.
"Psychiatric centers have a legal duty to provide a safe environment for the children and adolescents in their facility. The staff and administration are trusted to do everything in their power to prevent abuse from occurring against residents. Unfortunately, there have been numerous reports of staff at psychiatric facilities exploiting their positions of power and abusing the residents in their care. Victims of such abuse should know they have legal rights and should secure the services of an experienced abuse attorney to determine if they have grounds for a civil lawsuit."
"Victims and their families should question if the staff and administration did everything possible to prevent abuse from occurring at the facility. Often, abuse occurs due to third-party negligence, such as administration. An example of negligence is if misconduct was reported and ignored by staff and others. These facilities should implement cameras and other safeguards to ensure a high level of safety for the residents. Victims of abuse at these facilities should know in negligence cases they may be able to file a civil lawsuit and receive compensation for damages."