GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A Greensboro psychiatric facility for children had its license suspended in an "emergency action" by the state.
According to documents from the Department of Health and Human Services, Omega Treatment Center's license to operate was summarily suspended on Feb. 12.
Elena Johnson contacted FOX8 after the center was closed. Her nine-year-old son was placed in the Omega program in January and transferred to another facility five weeks later with no explanation.
Johnson didn't want to identify her son, but said he is autistic and suffers from depression.
"The only time we got to see him in that place he had a black eye and he some bruises on his arms," she said. She said workers could not explain why her son had bruises.
"If you're taking care of my son, then you should know how he got this black eye," she pointed out in a phone interview.
In February, DHHS sent a letter to Barsheem C. Chapman, President of Omega Treatment Center which is part of Elite Adolescent Care, Inc.
The letter reads in part:
"This summary suspension is based on this agency's findings that conditions at Omega Treatment Center present an imminent danger to the health, safety, and welfare of the clients and that emergency action is required to protect the clients."
It goes on to list "Rule citations" including:
- Seclusion, Physical Restraint, and Isolation Time-Out and Protective Devices Used for Behavioral Control
- [Employee] Training in Seclusion, Physical Restraint, and Isolation Time-Out
- Protection from Harm, Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation
There was furniture visible inside the facility. Only one person was at the site Thursday, claiming to be a maintenance worker.
A stop work order from the City of Greensboro Inspections Office is on the window of the facility located at 4501 Old Battleground Road. It was otherwise empty.
FOX8 got in touch with Barsheem Chapman over the phone. He said, "We're actually not closed down," and later explained, "We have several programs here, not just that one program."
Chapman would not elaborate on the state's accusations. He said it was a misunderstanding.
DHHS said the facility "neglected to provide services to assure the health, safety and welfare of the clients."
A detailed inspection report was not available yet.
"I mean if you say you have a report, then, we don't have any comment," Chapman said. He went on to add, "We actually submitted a plan of correction to the division already."
DHHS said it does not have the corrective plan to which Chapman referred.
Spokesperson Kirsti Clifford wrote in an email, "DHHS’ Division of Health Service Regulation has not sent the facility a final statement of deficiencies. Once we send the statement of deficiencies, we then expect the facility to submit a comprehensive plan of correction."
Greensboro Police Department's Public Information Officer Susan Danielsen said detectives are investigating an open case of alleged child abuse.
"As the case is on-going and may involve juveniles, we cannot discuss it further," Danielsen explained. She said officers are working with DHHS.
Johnson said her son is being checked over by doctors at his new mental health facility.
"Speak for your child because if you don't, nobody else will. You've got to protect your child somehow," she said.