Although this does not specifically relate to Autism, it does relate to some legislation that WI is working on regarding restraining children.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. - A 7-year-old girl who suffocated during a control hold at a northwest Wisconsin counseling center had been similarly restrained eight other times, according to a state agency.
Angellika Arndt, of Ladysmith, died May 26 at Children's Hospital & Clinics of Minnesota in Minneapolis, a day after police were called to the Northwest Counseling and Guidance Clinic in Rice Lake on a report that she was unresponsive. Arndt was a patient at the clinic and had been restrained by staff members for behavioral issues, police said.
Arndt died from complications of chest compression, which caused lack of air from a restraint hold she was placed in by staff members, Barron County District Attorney Angela Holmstrom has said.
The state Department of Health and Family Services investigated and found that staff restrained Arndt nine times for one to two hours, according to its report released last week.
She had been put in a hold for "gargling milk" a day before her death, according the report. Besides the nine holds, the report said the girl was put in 18 "timeouts" within 31 days.
"There's a lot of things that just don't sit right with me," said Rick Pelishek, director of Disability Rights Wisconsin's northwest chapter office in Rice Lake.
The advocacy group is also investigating and Pelishek said he's talking to previous doctors and getting records to see if Arndt really needed to be restrained. A statement from the president of Northwest Counseling and Guidance's board of directors, Denison Tucker, said he is concerned that there are "errors of fact, incomplete context and misapplications of statute references" in the state's report.
Tucker said center staff will meet with agency next week with more data and documents.
The agency's investigation is continuing, said Sandy Rowe, the state department's deputy chief legal counsel.
After the center submits its plan of correction within a month, Rowe said the state would visit the center and then determine if the facility should be closed.
The agency has since ordered all control holds stopped at the center except in extreme emergencies.
No charges against center staff have been filed yet, but Holmstrom said she has started to review several police reports about Arndt's death.
She doesn't anticipate making a decision on whether to file charges until at least mid-July.
The girl, whom friends and family called "Angie," was born in Milwaukee. She became a ward of the state and was placed in the Rusk County foster home of Dan and Donna Pavlik in January 2005.
She was diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder, mood disorder and attention deficit with hyperactivity disorder, according to the state's report.
The Pavliks have declined to comment.