Abusing children while taxpayers give them millions? Allegations of Sequel Youth’s profitable “death trap” were brought to light in a recent article by NBC news. Sequel Youth & Family Services, a for-profit child rehabilitation facility for children with serious mental and behavioral health issues, markets itself as a “national leader in providing specialized care for at-risk youth.” Though, recent reports reveal alarming allegations of children being sexually, physically, and emotionally abused by staff members, while the company continues to rake in millions in profits.
It has been alleged that children placed in the facility reported to advocacy groups that the staff at Sequel Youth’s Alabama facilities denied them medical care, encouraged them to kill themselves, made vulgar comments to them, and physically abused them reporting being “slapped” and “choked” by staff members. Perhaps more alarming than the children’s allegations is an allegation made by one former Sequel Courtland, AL, employee alleging that “40 different residents/students [were] consistently choked, body-slammed, tortured, emotionally abused, football tacked, held up the wall by their neck, dragged out of their beds, . . . and encouraged to harass and fight other residents.” The employee further reported that Sequel staff prohibited children from using the restroom to the point children urinated and defecated on themselves further forcing the kids to sit in it as a form of humiliation and punishment. The local police allegedly describing the Courtland facility as a “death trap.”
Sequel Youth & Family Services has locations in 20 different states, the for-profit company made $25 million in profit in 2016, while children they “cared for” were allegedly suffering and restrained at the hands of Sequel staff. Sequel attributed the millions in profits by “keeping staffing costs low.”
Sequel’s possible underqualified staffing cost one 16-year old boy his life. This past year, when he died after several staff members restrained him at a facility in Michigan, the medical examiner ruled his death as a homicide. The child’s death led public officials and child advocacy groups to question if Sequel’s focus is profit rather than providing rehabilitation programs for the children in its care. While some states have severed ties with Sequel, many states continue to send millions in taxpayer dollars and their at-risk youth to Sequel facilities.
Sequel has multiple facilities in Florida including Gainesville, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Jacksonville, Ocala, West Palm Beach, Pompano Beach, Port St. Lucie, Port Richey, Vero Beach, Pinellas Park, and St. Augustine.