State pulling license of youth home after boy’s death

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo. (May 1, 2020)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The state of Michigan has suspended and is working to revoke the license of a Kalamazoo youth home following the death of a teen who was restrained by staff members.

Sixteen-year-old Cornelius Fredericks died May 1, two days after he was restrained and then suffered cardiac arrest at Lakeside Academy.

Investigators found Fredrick was “wrongfully restrained,” the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said in a Thursday release. It was among 10 violations the state found when it investigated the teen’s death.

>>MDHHS investigation summary

Lakeside already had a history of violations, including failing to properly supervise the youths, using “inappropriate behavior management techniques” with a child and a previous incident of improperly restraint.

Located on Oakland Drive north of West Kilgore Road, the facility houses and educates young people with behavioral challenges, including youth in foster care and juvenile justice programs.

The license suspension means the facility can’t house any kids. The state had already removed all 125 youths from the home a few days after Fredrick’s death and ended its contract with the facility.

The state is taking steps to shut the place down permanently by revoking its license. Lakeside will be able to request a hearing during that process and it’s unclear how long it may take.

Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting said his office is still working through a few different reports on the death. He expects to be able to make a decision on whether charges are appropriate next week.

MDHHS added that it is now issuing new rules to all child care facilities that ban the use of physical restraints. It said it will help teach alternatives before the new policy goes into effect.

It’s also asking independent child welfare organizations to look at state oversight of licensing and contracting. Those groups should come up with improvement recommendations by the end of the month.

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