More Trouble for Highfields

By: Lori Dougovito
By: Lori Dougovito

The state's Department of Human Services has removed all 15 of its youth living at Highfields, the Onondaga facility for troubled boys. This after a preliminary investigation determines conditions and circumstances there constitute a risk to the health, safety and welfare of the young men.

In addition, Ingham County has officially cut all ties to Highfields. Friday, the County stopped payment for the 24 beds it was paying for there.

All of the current actions follow the courts removal of 18 young men this week after allegations of physical and mental abuse by staff members.

New Ten spoke with a former Highfields resident, one not part of recent allegations, but he says he was abused while he was staying at the facility back in 2002.

Derek Kristofferson claims a male staff member picked him up and threw him on the ground. He went to the hospital and filed an incident report when he returned to Highfields. Because of confidentially rules, Highfields President Jim Hines couldn't confirm or deny what Kristofferson's claims.

Hines did says he feels there is a feeding frenzy taking place on his facility. He also says comments made at Thursday's Ingham County Board of Commissioners meeting were inaccurate. Commissioners were told there were 13 allegations of abuse from February 2004 to June 2005 and that the state substantiated seven of the allegations. Hines disagrees adding the state substantiated licensing violations.


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