This month on Speak Up Arkansas, we’re talking about the Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities, or PRTFs. These facilities are long term residential treatment facilities designed to address mental illness or behavioral health needs for youth under the age of 21.
DRA believes all children deserve to be safe and to receive trauma-informed, intensive treatment in the least restrictive setting possible. Children placed in residential treatment facilities are some of the most vulnerable children in the state, but their rights and safety are not always being protected.
Reagan Stanford points out in this month’s episode, “We’re really talking about children here, not just adolescents, not just older kids, but I mean, these are children that are growing up in facilities, because even though it’s supposed to be three to six months, a lot of times it’s longer than that, that they end up in these PRTFs, what we’ve seen is a lot of these kids are just cycling around through different PRTFs or different facilities. So, they’re spending the majority of their childhood and formative years in these facilities.”
DRA believes in transparency and accountability. All available information about these programs should be easily and readily accessible in a single location. This includes information about licensing violations, abuse, neglect, and maltreatment reports, and police responses. The public also deserves to know what the state is doing or failing to do to ensure the safety of our children.
These are the total PRTF reports in 2021 ALONE! There were 204 calls to police about PRTFs in 2021 and 293 serious occurrences were reported to DRA.
|Facility||Police Reports||Serious Occurrence Reports||Total|
|Perimeter Forrest City||3||89||92|
|Perimeter West Memphis||17||0||17|
And this is why DRA created the Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTF) Database. By bringing different types of publicly available information together into one central location, it will also be easier for policymakers and concerned citizens to access information and focus reform efforts where they are most needed. By gathering and publishing the publicly available documents contained within the PRTF database, we are forcing transparency that will motivate programs to make improvements, either on their own or through external pressure, leading to safer, more therapeutic programs for youth.
You can use the Database to:
- Access documentation from multiple agencies charged with oversight in one central location.
- Better understand the scale of abuse, neglect, and licensing violations in these facilities.
- Learn more about the disjointed regulatory system that dead ends at the Child Welfare Agency Review Board (CWARB).
- Understand the current state of under-regulation of the PRTFs and the need for reforms.
Documents in the database include:
- Basic information about each facility, such as location, capacity, number of therapists, and use or restraint, seclusion, and chemical restraint, etc.;
- Complaint and Validation Surveys conducted by the Department of Human Services Office of Long-Term Care (OLTC);
- Licensing Compliance Records, Complaint Investigations, and Notice of Incidents created by the Department of Human Services Placement and Residential Licensing Unit (PRLU);
- Police Incident Reports for responses to PRTFs;
- Health Services Permit Agency reports based on their yearly survey of PRTFs;
- Child Welfare Agency Review Board meeting transcripts, available recordings, and copies of the only two actions ever taken to reprimand a facility; and
- Medicaid Inspection of Care reviews.
Explanations about what these agencies do and what each of these documents are can be found on the PRTF Database. You can access all documents for a facility by clicking on the facility name. You can search within each facility page to narrow results that show only reports that mention a keyword such as abuse or only a type of document such as only police reports. Documents are currently archived from 2019-present.
You Can Help By:
Arkansas’s standards for PRTFs are among the lowest in the country. There is little in the way of transparency or accountability for these facilities. You can help make sure that the children in these facilities are safe and receiving the treatment they need and deserve.
- Use your voice. Reach out to your legislators and to Governor Hutchinson. Let them know that our children deserve better and that private providers should be held accountable.
- Make a complaint. If you wish to make a complaint based on your experience with a facility, you can find information about how to report your concern on our website.
- Spread the word. Share this information. Ask your friends and family to follow DRA on Facebook or Twitter, and sign up for emails.
Kids are continuing to cycle through these facilities, so it is inevitable that more reports will be generated. As we get new reports, the information contained in our PRTF database will be updated monthly.
For more information on the PRTF’s and the PRTF database, listen to our latest episode of Speak Up Arkansas.