Utah closes Spanish Fork youth facility months after child in its care dies


A state license for a Spanish Fork youth facility was revoked earlier this week after state officials said the facility failed to immediately seek medical attention during an incident in April, months after the death of a child in the care of the establishment. (Google Maps)

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SPANISH FORK – A state agency has decided to shut down a residential treatment center for adolescents in Utah County after a teenager in its care died earlier this year and state investigators say he did not seek medical attention during an incident in April.

The Utah Licensing Office sent a letter May 20 to Maple Lake Academy stating that its girls’ home license had been revoked, according to a notice posted on the Utah Department of Social Services website. The revocation applies to the facility’s girls’ hostel, which can accommodate up to 15 people, according to Maple Lake website.

In the May 20 letter, state officials say the facility did not seek immediate medical attention after a person in its care “was involved in an incident in which she hit his head on the sidewalk, lost consciousness and had several bouts of vomiting” on April 8. .

The next day, the facility “also failed to follow ER medical orders and allowed a guest with a concussion to participate in strenuous activity,” according to the letter. The state also found that the facility’s nurse failed to document ongoing medical services after a student’s concussion.

In a statement to KSL on Tuesday, Maple Lake ownership and management said they were disappointed the state decided to take “such (an) arbitrary action in this matter.”

“The Board’s notice contains references to ‘facts’ not in evidence at all, as there were no administrative hearings of any kind,” the statement said. “…We know that our staff acted responsibly and in a timely manner in this matter. The Bureau’s allegations are excessive, in our view, and certainly not yet established by any formal process.

“Maple Lake Academy has been operating safely and efficiently for 17 years and has an outstanding track record of success with its customers, as evidenced by the parents of the young woman in question. We understand that the Licensing Office has a difficult job to do. , but even in an atmosphere of media sensationalism, due process must not lose out to political expediency.At a minimum, we would expect to have “our day in court” before any final action is taken by the state regulators. As always, actively ensuring the safety, care and well-being of our customers is our first priority.”

The license revocation came months after Maple Lake was reprimanded by the state in January after the facility ‘failed to provide necessary medical attention during an incident that resulted in the death of a patron on January 16, 2022″.

A letter to the facility dated Jan. 27 said Maple Lake had provided documentation to the state that showed the person in her care had continued worsening symptoms of an illness for at least a week before the child’s parents did not complain, which led the establishment to take the child to a doctor.

“After the doctor’s visit, the client complained of worsening symptoms but was not referred for medical attention,” the January 27 letter said. “The client died early the next morning.”

The recent order requires the girls’ home to release each person in its care from the program within 30 days, which could include transferring them to another facility or returning to their parents. The facility must maintain required staffing and security protocols, and the facility must notify all customers and their parents of the revocation of the facility’s certification. The property also must not prevent a state agency from investigating, nor is it allowed to alter guest or staff records.

The decertification of the Spanish Fork facility is the latest development in Utah’s youth treatment facilities, which have come under intense scrutiny in recent years. During the 2021 Utah legislative session, Paris Hilton – who testified that she was abused at the Provo Canyon school – spoke out in favor of a bill to regulate the centers of treatment for adolescents, which the legislature passed unanimously. Hilton recently traveled to Washington, DC to push for nationwide legislation.

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Jacob Scholl joined KSL.com as a reporter in 2021. He covers northern Utah communities, federal courts, and technology.

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