Sunday, September 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

State aims to shut troubled Davis group home

By
From page A1 | June 14, 2013 |

At least five children from the FamiliesFirst group home in Davis were raped and two others assaulted in less than a month this spring, according to allegations from the state Department of Social Services.

The agency moved Thursday to revoke EMQ FamiliesFirst Inc.’s license to run its Davis facility following the arrests of three boys last week on suspicion of sexual assault.

The state also wants to bar the facility’s clinical director and administrator, Audrie L. Meyer, and FamiliesFirst’s regional director, Gordon Richardson, from working at licensed group homes.

Under their watch, the state alleges that the 2100 Fifth St. facility lacked adequate, competent staffing; two staff members broke a boy’s arm; and children often walked off without permission or, in increasing numbers, ran away.

FamiliesFirst plans to fight to keep the group home open. It has until June 27 to appeal to an Office of Administrative Hearings judge.

Last week, Davis police arrested two boys, ages 13 and 14, who lived at the facility. A third, aged 17, who was not a resident, was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a girl who lived there. The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office declined to say Thursday whether charges had been filed against them.

About six cases of sexual assault are under investigation, according to Davis police.

The 16-page Social Service document lists about a dozen recent incidents of alleged law-breaking (it lists only the ages of children and only rarely their genders).

According to the state:

* On June 1, a 14-year-old, called Child No. 1 in the document, assaulted an 11-year-old, resulting in injuries, at a local park. Five other children were at the park, and all were absent from the facility without permission and unsupervised.

* On May 31, also at the park, Child No. 1 assaulted a 15-year-old, before two people from the community stepped in to stop it. This time, nine other children also were there.

* Also on May 31, a 14-year-old, Child No. 3, raped an 11-year-old at a local park. Four other children “assisted”; a fifth was present. After going missing for six hours, the victim returned to the facility on her own. FamiliesFirst did not report what happened.

* On May 29, Child No. 3 had sex with another child “who did so out of fear because Child No. 3 had a temper and was reportedly physically abusive.”

* On May 30, Child No. 1 raped a 12-year-old after they went “AWOL” — absent without leave —  from the group home, spending most of the night drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. FamiliesFirst failed to report the incident.

* Also on May 30, about 10 AWOL children from FamiliesFirst yelled profanities at Taco Bell employees and hassled customers, asking for money.

* On or about May 14, a non-resident minor raped a 13-year-old resident of the home after she went missing. A second child was threatened she’d be hurt if she told anyone what happened.

* Between May 10 and May 20, children ages 13 and 14 had sex with a 14-year-old, Child No. 13, because they were afraid of him. Child No. 13 had sex with at least two other children from the home (ages 15 and 17) while away from the home without permission, one of whom requested a pregnancy test from staff.

* Between May 7 and May 22, a 13-year-old girl from the facility met a non-resident male at a park. He gave her alcohol and raped her several times at a local hotel.

During the same period of about two weeks, the victim also had sex with Child No. 3. Another boy from the group home also attempted to have sex with her.

The state says that those running the group home didn’t keep the kids from leaving, didn’t know things they should have about what was going on with the children, and often didn’t properly report what they did know.

From January 2012 to June 2013, Davis police responded to 560 calls for service from the facility, where children are placed by their families or the courts.

CEO responds

Darrell Evora, president and CEO of EMQ FamiliesFirst, said in a statement that “nothing is more important to FamiliesFirst than the safety of the children in our care and our long-standing reputation for programs recognized as some of the finest in California.”

The nonprofit organization plans to “fully respond,” he said. “We will defend the agency and its programs which serve some of the most challenging children.”

Since February 2012, the state alleges, Meyer and Richardson failed to employ sufficient staff and to properly employ those it did.

Children were often unsupervised or walked away from the facility. Once away from the group home, they “engaged in illegal activity such as shoplifting, theft, fighting, loitering, panhandling, consuming alcohol, smoking cigarettes, doing drugs and other self-endangering behavior,” the state alleges.

On one occasion, a child left the facility, bought or stole knives, then came back and threatened staff with them.

Between February and December 2012, there were about 24 reported instances of kids running away; since January 2013, that number shot up to about 80.

Over an eight-month stretch, one boy was absent from the facility more than he was present, according to the document.

The facility’s supervisors ignored their own plan of operation and emergency intervention plan, the state alleges, including guidelines for preventing and coping with runaways.

In October 2012, two staff members improperly restrained one boy, breaking his arm in several places, when his behavior didn’t warrant it, the state alleges. One of the staff members involved had been suspended for another unjustified restraint months earlier.

A surgeon used two metal plates and seven screws to repair the broken arm. FamiliesFirst did not report the treatment, only the restraint, according to the state’s allegations.

Staff members often didn’t shadow children who bolted, state documents say. Instead, police found them throughout California — including one found on the freeway by the California Highway Patrol. Some allegedly assaulted officers while being taken into custody.

At least one child walked to the police department, asking to be placed on a mental health hold.

— Enterprise staff writer Lauren Keene contributed to this report.

Comments

comments

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Bet Haverim hosts High Holy Day services

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

    Elementary school counselors: necessary, but poorly funded

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Teams assess damage as wildfire burns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Driver arrested for DUI after Saturday morning crash

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Jewelry, art for sale at Senior Center

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Davis Community Meals needs cooks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Help raise funds for juvenile diabetes cure

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Da Vinci awarded $38,000 for restorative justice program

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    Hawk Hill trip planned Sept. 30

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Send kids to camp!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Outdoor yoga marathon celebrates community

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Wise words

    By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Forum

    Awareness is key to this fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Are we there yet? Not enough hours in the day to goof off

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

    Where is this going?

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A6

     
    We’re living in the Golden State of emergency

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A6

    Options for protection come with flu season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    It’s time for Davis Scouts to stand up for what is right

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Mike Keefe cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    Building something at schools’ HQ

    By Our View | From Page: A10

    Don’t sell city greenbelt

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Paso Fino project is flawed

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Paso Fino — it’s not worth it

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Archer will get my vote

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Maybe David can beat Goliath again

    By Lynne Nittler | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Speak out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

    DHS gets on its Morse to beat Edison

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    JV Blue Devils drop low-scoring affair

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B2

     
    Four local swimmers qualify for Olympic Trials

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

    Republic FC’s fairy tale season continues

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Wire briefs: Giants rally falls short in San Diego

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    ‘We’re a way better team’ than record, says UCD’s Shaffer

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

     
    UCD roundup: Aggie men pound Pomona-Pitzer in the pool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4

    Davis 15-year-old making a splash in European F4 series

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘Ladies Foursome’ adds shows

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    .

    Business

    UCD grad’s startup earns kudos at TechCrunch event

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Styles on target for November debut

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7

    MBI hires VP of marketing

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Taylor Morrison unveils new Woodland community next weekend

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Rob White: What is an ‘innovation center’?

    By Rob White | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Carol L. Walsh

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, September 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8