The therapeutic aspects of a therapeutic boarding school in the north-west of MT | 406 Politics


Yet in March, the DPHHS approved the Wood Creek Academy remedial plan, which included installing an alarm that would be activated each night and deactivated during the day, and checklists to document rounds every 30 minutes throughout. throughout the night.

In a follow-up inspection two months later, DPHHS inspectors documented 14 additional issues, each of them repeating deficiencies that DPHHS noted in 2020. Almost all were related to document management requirements set by the DPHHS. department. Wood Creek Academy’s new remedial plan was approved in May.

Northwest Montana has owned the majority of the state’s residential outdoor boarding schools for the past 30 years, once serving larger employers in places like Thompson Falls. Struggling programs like Spring Creek Lodge, which kept children in locked sheds as a punishment, have seen owners switch between programs in Sanders County. Other programs once moved their operations to Montana, where until recently regulations were more than lax and program owners were essentially allowed to regulate themselves through a Department of Labor board. of State.

State lawmakers handed oversight of the “troubled teens” industry to the state health agency in 2019. The change has moved regulation of the industry away from a model of self-regulation. which had been in place for almost 12 years and gave the department the power to set new rules and regulations, including banning solitary confinement as a form of punishment. Less than a month away from its new regulatory obligations, the DPHHS removed 27 children from the Ranch for Kids near Eureka and has definitively withdrawn his license five months later. By the end of 2020, eight of Montana’s 19 programs had closed, some due to the new regulatory environment, according to the DPHHS. With the closure of Wood Creek Academy, nine licensed programs remain in the state.

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