Wednesday, April 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

County revokes FamiliesFirst certification for mental health care

Yolo County’s mental health department has revoked EMQ FamiliesFirst’s certification to provide mental health services to children covered by Medi-Cal at the embattled Davis group home.

In a letter sent to FamiliesFirst on Wednesday, Kim Suderman, the county’s director of alcohol, drug and mental health, said the facility had failed to meet required standards and that a review of the facility conducted in June revealed deficiencies in a number of areas.

The county’s move comes on the heels of the state Department of Social Services’ decision on June 13 to revoke the group home’s license and bar clinical director Audrie Meyer and capitol region executive director Gordon Richardson from ever working in a licensed group home again. An investigation by the department had found as many as half a dozen children from FamiliesFirst were raped and several others assaulted in the space of a month. Three teenagers, including two residents of FamiliesFirst, have since been arrested in connection with those assaults.

The 63-bed FamiliesFirst facility, located at 2100 Fifth St., provides treatment, education and housing to adolescents with serious emotional problems. The county’s Department of Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health (ADMH) oversees the provision of mental health care to FamiliesFirst residents covered by Medi-Cal.

Suderman said her department conducted a review of the facility on June 20 and 24 and found numerous instances where the facility failed to meet required standards of care. Among the issues raised were a requirement that the facility have one full-time equivalent licensed, certified, registered or waivered mental health professional for every eight children.

“It is unclear how the staffing ratios are currently functioning,” Suderman’s report said.

Staffing — and supervision — were at the heart of the state’s complaint as well.

In its 16-page report, the Department of Social Services had cited some 80 instances since January when children left the facility without permission, including at least seven instances where a rape or assault is alleged to have subsequently occurred at a nearby park, hotel or private residence.

According to Suderman’s report, FamiliesFirst is required to have one-to-one staffing for children with six behavioral indicators, and “of the six behavioral indicators in the policy, all of the children identified in the incidents cited in (the state’s complaint) met the criteria for one-to-one, which if implemented, would have resulted in multiple staff being present during each incident.”

Other issues raised in Suderman’s report include initial psychiatric assessments being conducted 25 or more days after children have been placed at the facility; required family therapy being provided only on-site even though none of the residents of the facility are from Yolo County; and an absence of a specific plan for emergency psychiatric hospitalizations or a written agreement with a local mental health agency.

According to the county, FamiliesFirst had no formal arrangement with local hospitals for emergency psychiatric hospitalizations; used the Davis Police Department for all transportation instead of only when it was deemed unsafe for staff to provide transportation; and listed Yolo County’s Suicide Prevention Mobile Crisis Team as a resource even though the team has not existed since 2011.

But Kristine Austin, director of communications for EMQ FamiliesFirst, said the county has reviewed the FamiliesFirst facility every year and never raised any of those concerns before.

“There’s never been an issue,” Austin said Wednesday, adding that the facility has “passed every time.”

EMQ FamiliesFirst is fighting the state’s move to revoke the Davis facility’s license, as well as the state’s actions against Richardson and Meyer, but Austin said Wednesday no decision had been made on how they will respond to ADMH’s decision.

“We’re reviewing the action taken by the county and are responding,” she said.

In the meantime, Austin added, “The children are safe and the community is safe. The program is still licensed and in full operation.”

In fighting the state’s action, EMQ FamiliesFirst argued in papers filed in late June that because the alleged illegal activity at the heart of the state’s case — multiple rapes and assaults by and against children from the group home — did not occur at the facility, the Department of Social Services has no jurisdiction in the cases.

FamiliesFirst also argued that the state didn’t give the facility a chance to comply with any regulatory deficiencies before seeking to revoke their license.

Suderman said in her letter that the county did provide FamiliesFirst with an opportunity to take action.

She said on June 26, her department conducted an exit interview with EMQ FamiliesFirst to outline the problems found at the facility. Richardson, she said, requested additional time to establish a basis for a provisional certification and two days later sent a letter to her department requesting provisional certification for a 36-bed facility “and providing what (was) characterized as supporting documentation related to the functioning of the group home,” Suderman said.

However, she contended, EMQ FamiliesFirst “did not provide evidence, when given an additional opportunity to do so, to support a provisional certification. Therefore, as of (Wednesday, July 3), Yolo County ADMH is removing … certification from the Davis group home facility.”

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at aternus@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

 
New mosaic mural reflects Peña family history

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

UC Davis biodigester hungers for food scraps

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Penalty decision looms in Winters homicide case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Hay bales burn east of Davis

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Woman killed by train ID’d

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Pro-Russian insurgents hold journalist captive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Register to vote by May 19

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Sign up for enviro organizations during Earth Week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Bible fun featured at Parents’ Night Out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Davis businesswoman presides over conference

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Birch Lane sells garden plants, veggies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Team Blend hosts fundraiser for Nicaragua project

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

Davis Arts Center: See ceramics, join the Big Day of Giving

By Erie Vitiello | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fire damages Woodland home

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

Odd Fellows host culinary benefit for nonprofit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
400 bikes go up for bids at UCD auction

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Sunder hosts campaign event for kids

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Church hosts discussion of mental health needs, services

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
UCD to host premiere of autism documentary

By Cory Golden | From Page: A4

UFC hears from two local historians

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Fundraiser benefits Oakley campaign

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Fire crews gather for joint training

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
UCD professor to talk about new book

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Fly Fishers talk to focus on healthy streams, rivers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Train to become a weather spotter

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Learn survival skills at Cache Creek Preserve

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Veterans, internees may receive overdue diplomas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

UC Davis conference showcases undergraduate research

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Conservation District celebrates its stewardship efforts

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Slow Food tour showcases area’s young farmers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

 
.

Forum

Even a safe house needs boundaries

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Will anyone notice?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

My votes reflect city values

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

A plea on the Bard’s birthday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
I support Sunder for board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

DHS thunders back to win an epic DVC volleyball match

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
DHS/Franklin I goes to the Blue Devil softballers

By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Davis gets to Grant ace and rolls in DVC crucial

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Walchli is under par in another Devil victory

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Seniors send Blue Devil girls past Broncos in a lacrosse rout

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
Baseball roundup: Rangers rally to beat A’s in the ninth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Sharks go up 3-0 with OT win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

 
.

Arts

 
Five Three Oh! featured at April Performers’ Circle

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Celebrate spring at I-House on Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Music, wine flow at Fourth Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Biscuits ‘n Honey will play at winery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Catharine ‘Kay’ Lathrop

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6