Watchdog group: MI children still being placed in Sequel facilities after teen’s death

Kalamazoo County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A watchdog group says Michigan is still paying a company that was banned following the death of a teenager at a Kalamazoo youth home.

Cornelius Fredericks died in 2020, two days after several staff members held him down for nearly eight minutes at Lakeside Academy. He was 16 years old.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered the Michigan Department of Health and services to stop placing children in facilities run by Sequel Youth and Family Services in 2020.

NBC News reports that a federally appointed watch dog group called Disability Rights Michigan has obtained information showing at least seven children from Michigan were housed in facilities run in Iowa and Kansa as of August.

MDHHS spokesman Bob Wheaton told NBC News that the department has not placed any children in a Sequel facility since the governor’s orders. However, he says if local courts decide to place a child in an out-of-state facility, they do not need the department’s approval, even though MDHHS covers part of the cost.

NBC news says Robert Leddy, a spokesman for Whitmer’s office, deferred to MDHHS and local courts for comment. 

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