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Brooklawn to appeal state decision to revoke license after death investigation

a photo of the marquee for Brooklawn on a grassy lawn.
Bellewood and Brooklawn
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The state is revoking the license from the center, which provides residential treatment for children with severe emotional and behavioral needs. Most of the children the center serves are in foster care.

Leadership of Uspiritus-Brooklawn has filed an intent to appeal state action against the organization after an investigation into the death of a child there in July 2022.

Uspiritus-Brooklawn, also known as Bellewood and Brooklawn, is a psychiatric residential treatment facility that primarily houses and treats children in foster care.

In December, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) ordered the removal of all children in state custody from Brooklawn after an investigation into the death of 7-year-old Ja’Ceon Terry at the facility. Terry died due to “positional asphyxia,” meaning his body was in a position that made it impossible to breathe. The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office ruled Terry’s death a homicide. No one has been charged in the case.

CHFS also revoked Brooklawn’s license as a psychiatric residential treatment facility over alleged failures around staffing, training and inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint. Those are “holds” staff use to physically immobilize patients when they are at risk of harming themselves or others.

A spokesperson for CHFS said Brooklawn filed its intent to appeal the closure order on Jan. 18.

Brooklawn spokesperson Jarod Woods confirmed the facility’s decision.

“Based on the reports provided to us by [the Office of Inspector General], and the actions we have taken as an organization, we have chosen to exercise our right to appeal. The health and safety of our Brooklawn family will always be our top priority,” Woods wrote in an emailed statement.

A statement from Brooklawn CEO Abbreial Drane suggests the organization wants to continue serving children in foster care, which is overseen by the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), within CHFS.

“We will always strive to improve and look forward to continuing our valued relationship with DCBS,” Drane wrote in an email to LPM News.

Until the closure order is final, Brooklawn is still allowed to treat and house children who are not in state custody. A Brooklawn spokesperson told LPM News that the facility is currently serving 13 children in psychiatric residential treatment, all admitted by choice of their families.

Editor’s note: LPM uses the legal services of Michael Abate, a local media law attorney who is also on the 20-member board of directors of Uspiritus-Brooklawn.

Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.