Mohr estimates that facilities similar to CATS might see one or two legitimate uses of restraint per week. "At many facilities, if anybody sees the use of restraints creeping up, there's usually a meeting to see what the heck is going on." Restraint is particularly wrong when dealing with abused kids, Mohr says. "When someone is manhandling you, especially when you're having male-on-female restraint, it piles trauma upon trauma."

And who knows whether Citrus' records are even accurate? The SFBHN report found multiple occasions when Citrus staff administered psychotropic medications but failed to report them as ETOs — 40 times with 19 patients in 2013 alone. While Kate told investigators she had been restrained and shot up with booty juice 14 times, records from CATS tracked only eight instances. The BSO found that after Kate was arrested, a CATS report noted her arrest but left out the fact that an officer had punched her in the face.

None of the reports give the medical name for "booty juice." They refer to the substances at CATS only as "psychotropic medications," a large category of medicines that alter brain functions like mood, consciousness, or cognition. One grandmother of a CATS patient told New Times that the staff told her that her granddaughter had been injected with Haldol, an antipsychotic, to calm her.

Despite the reports' findings, there's little accountability for Citrus.

Broward Sheriff and SFBHN reports only offer "suggestions" — that Citrus "reconsider" using the prone position, try less-restrictive techniques before reaching for the needle, and keep better track of restraint.

John Dow, head of SFBHN, would tell New Times only, "We continue to pursue corrective action when needed."

Sheriff's investigators redirected inquiries about their investigation to DCF.

DCF redirected inquiries about the facility's contract and license to SFBHN and AHCA. ("The issues and deficiencies identified were addressed, and action was taken," said a DCF spokesperson.)

AHCA typically gives facilities 30 days to correct the issues or to put together a "plan for correction" within ten days. Whenever Citrus has been found with deficiencies, records show the nonprofit has addressed the issues.

Spokesperson Shelisha Coleman told New Times in an email: "The Agency's area office... collaborated on an annual onsite review of the Citrus CATS program on November 5-6, 2013. At that time, no performance improvement plans were required by the Agency."

Despite numerous calls and emails to Citrus Health Network chief Jardon and calls to seven members of the board, no one responded to requests for comment for this article.

"They're favorable to the business entity, not favorable to the child," says a frustrated Weekes. "They give the company every opportunity to fix it. But what happens to the children while they're trying to fix it? They're still there.

"If you find credible evidence, you need to be moving swiftly to secure the child, not giving the business entity the opportunity to protect its profit-generator — the state contract."


On a Sunday night last August, Tanisha Howell's phone buzzed. A Citrus Health Network staffer told her that Octavious had been taken to the hospital. He was running a fever and had stomach pains. The next day, he was released with a prescription for antibiotics. The doctors suspected colitis.

A day later, though, Octavious was back in the hospital. When Howell walked into her son's room at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital bearing get-well balloons, she was surprised. Octavious was considerably skinnier than the week before. She noticed a layer of grime on his skin. Still, they had a nice visit, laughing together some and putting together a puzzle.

When Howell returned on Thursday, however, Octavious was listless. She spoon-fed him some mashed potatoes. He threw them up. Howell noticed his toilet bowl was caked in diarrhea. Before she left at 1 a.m., Octavious asked his mom to tuck him in. "He was my big boy, but he was still my baby," she says today. Before walking out, Howell noticed her son's chest was working overtime to get air. She would mention it to the doctor the next day.

"We never made it to Friday," she says.

Octavious went into cardiac arrest around 5 a.m.

An autopsy conducted two days after Octavious' death concluded the boy had died of natural causes from myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscles. The family doesn't see it that simply. It plans a lawsuit against the individuals responsible for Octavious' care — including Citrus.

"We've got an expert taking a look right now," says Howell's attorney, H.T. Smith. "Clearly it's more than natural causes, and we'll bring that forward in the litigation."


In January, Kate sat in a small, windowless room off a judge's chambers on the fifth floor of the Broward County Courthouse. She wore a simple blue shirt and jeans, her left hand nervously snapping at the hair ties looped around her wrist. Her eyes were burnt red from tears.

A case worker had driven the now-15-year-old from her new facility. Despite her lawyer's advice to plead out on her felony charge, the former CATS resident arrived with every intention of climbing the witness stand.

She wanted the world to know about that place. She wanted to talk about the April incident, about how she is doing now in the new program, about how far she's come from being the girl on the wrong end of a policeman's fist.

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38 comments
Lynxx3
Lynxx3

Great article Kyle.I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and hope you keep the pressure on. Sometimes the media is the best bet to get something looked into. This is an atrocity! We are failing these children, and all this red tape is bureaucratic Bull Shi**

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...................and don't think the attorneys care about the patients and conditions of the facility as much as they are really in it for the M O N E Y

cha - ching !

these attorneys smell a potential settlement of which they will typically get MORE than the patient in fees plus costs and the motivation for the patient is also the smell of M O N E Y

cha-ching !

Gil Rodriguez
Gil Rodriguez

I do agree the kids are not "normal " but that is no reason to treat them like animals . These people were def over medicating them . Doesn't sound like the "treatment" was beneficial . And the head Doctor not wanting to face the press ? Hhheeelllloo don't be stupid people . That man doesn't care because he collects his check and that's it . I'm not glad the kid died but I'm glad it has been brought to public attention . Like Heather said , more safety measures need to be implemented . But by no means should they be treated like animals .

perroviejo160
perroviejo160

Ok so what happened or will happen to the dirty pig who punched the girl?

Halley Fitzsimmons
Halley Fitzsimmons

Isn't this article education enough?? This article is 7 pages worth of wrong doing by citrus, so what are you talking about Miguelina bloise??

Heather Rogerson
Heather Rogerson

" shot up with drugs " absolutely!!!!! There is no other way to control an agitated delusional psychotic person about to harm themselves or others. Try reporting from the medical stand point. These aren't sane high school kids they are very sick and dangerous

Heather Rogerson
Heather Rogerson

I can't speak for this facility but ive worked mental health. I lasted a month. One guy killed a nurse strangled 3 sleeping patients. They bite throw feces at you, sharpen tooth brushes stab staff...... All controlled by DCF restraints discouraged. I agree restraints were once abused and can actually escalate rage agitation, when a patient is delusional they have " super strength " at what point do we care as much for the life and safety of the staff ? When a person strongly agrees you are the anti Christ about to sacrifice them, they won't hesitate to kill you. Very scary environment I refuse to work until staff safety is ensured.

gjpnaples
gjpnaples

Having worked I several adolescent psych facilities I am very familiar with the threat and use of "booty juice" All of the mental health facilities use either Haldol or Geodon to subdue patients. Occasionally it is justified but, more often than not it is used indiscretely to make things easier on the staff. These meds are dangerous and should ONLY be used under the DIRECT supervision of a physician. We use them in the ER but only in extreme circumstances and the patient is carefully observed and monitored.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..............otherwise THROW-AWAY kids are kids whose parents deliberately have them to qualify for government assistance and taxpayer funded support like food stamps and free government cheese and obamaphones and section 8 housing reduced rent programs and even disability if the kid himself qualifies

the kids are abandonded or disgarded by the parents who have no intention of raising the kid who is THROWN-AWAY since the parents are typically abusing drugs and cannot work and are unemployable - so the free ride is to feed an addiction not a kid

however these THROW-AWAYs are typically NOT wards of the state or in guardianships because the goverment support would GO elsewhere instead of the parents - which is why you see drugged out mothers pleading the courts for custody despite such abuse and hiding that mothers real financial intentions and why there are typically MULITPLE siblings from different fathers to MAXIMIZE the yield in ripping off and scamming the public programs of taxpayer funds

the kids in this article of course may be THROW-AWAYs but not necessarily - dealing with mental deficiencies and incapacity for the poor alone does not indicate the parental participation which is the main factor in the definition of the label THROW-AWAY kid

Tracey Jones
Tracey Jones

Who got the money? Citrus Health Network in Hialeah?

Miami New Times
Miami New Times

Eddie, if you're on your phone you need to download to Pocket app.

Eddie Feliz
Eddie Feliz

Where on my Android is this mystical button called Pocket, that you speak of Miami New Times???

Miami New Times
Miami New Times

Merlina, there is a button up top called Pocket, it's a great service that does exactly that.

Jerry Gonzalez
Jerry Gonzalez

So the low income uneducated watch the kids while the 200 to 400k a year doctors play golf?

Merlina Francis
Merlina Francis

Instead of like FB needs a bookmark button so you would loose things you wanna read later. I suspect people like stuff so they would loose it in a tremendous amount of feed

sodapop1987
sodapop1987

So sad indeed. I hope this place fire all the employees and do an extensive interview for new employees. Gets sued for misusing the "booty juice" its messed up that these kids have to go through more trauma.

Alex Anico
Alex Anico

^Naomi. people are liking the article....on that note, MNT may occasionally write up lame stories about Bieber farting in a motel jacuzzi but when they do an investigative report, watch the fuck out. They play no kind of games...like

Naomi Lauren Ross
Naomi Lauren Ross

Why would anyone "Like" this? It's disturbing, and really sad. I hope it doesn't mean you actually approve what this facility has done to people.

Jimbo99
Jimbo99

@frankd4 Yep, proof that life is created in society without little regard for how they will be taken care of until they are self sufficient adults. The way I figure it, those thatd haven't had children wind up picking up the tab on these children. Some of the cowards that had them figured they would use the children as human shields to make up for the lack o their income earning potential. It creates an industry that gets fabulously wealthy off doing as little as possible to actually take care of the children. Some of these folks do the same with their pets, get a cuddly and cute one and then eventually realize they have to be accountable & responsible for raising their poor choices. Sterilization is one solution, but that's no better than what this article exposes. It's deemed inhumane, so they hope free contraceptives under Obamacare resolves as much as possible ? What they don't realize is that the underlying social ills aren't related to a bad situation that went bad because of a recession. It's that these folks breed for a government program that rewards that, then there's prostitution and diseases & unwanted pregnancies. There is no solution to any of it.

lamorta
lamorta

@frankd4 these are kids worthy of love and proper care, no matter who their parents are. if you read the article you would have noticed that some of them were orphans,

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@Jimbo99 @frankd4  


because there is PROFIT in it for some there will be no real change


otherwise it is not the kids fault when they have shitty parents


problems for these people perpetuates because for the most part the kids are or become as needy as the parent were hence the continual breeding of the criminal uncivilized prospects that exist


and yes our current judicial industrial complex is fixed to PROFIT as judges pensions and LEOs boat payments from overtime and construction workers building jails and courthouses is continual ALL vitally depend on the constant flow of funds into these efforts


these 52 kids are certainly on their way to entering and staying in custody at one place or another - they simply are NOT self-sufficient nor will they be anytime soon

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@lamorta @frankd4  


i absolutely agree.......after all it's NOT the kids fault they are either mentally financially or parentaly deficient in our society


sometimes even loving parents however do not have the ability to handle infirmed and difficult kids who need professional help


during WWII kids of all ages were relocated from LONDON and other cities into the suburbs to live with surrogate guardians until the bombing ended and the outcomes were mixed indicating environment while very important is not the only factor

 
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