National Deaf Academy fails to report abuse allegations, fails to inform youth of their right to report abuse

The National Deaf Academy was cited by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) during an unannounced complaint survey for deficiencies related to the rights of children – child abuse & neglect. AHCA revealed that the facility did not report abuse allegations to the state abuse registry and did not inform children of their right to call the registry.

During the complaint survey, AHCA found “3 occasions on 04/04/12, 05/20/12, and 05/14/12, the abuse registry was not notified when residents made a claim that a staff member had hit or pushed them.” When asked by AHCA, the Director of Nursing (DON) stated that “she would first investigate the incident and then depending on her investigation decide to call the abuse registry.” AHCA also interviewed the Program Director who stated “that they had up to 24 hours to report it to the registry.” However, the facility’s abuse policy states “that anyone at the facility who suspects or knows about abuse must report it immediately to the abuse hotline.”

AHCA also found that the “facility failed to ensure that for 3 out of 3 sampled children in the facility that they were informed and had knowledge of their right to call the abuse registry and the method for calling the abuse registry.” State law requires facilities to “inform each child verbally and in writing of the procedure for reporting abuse.” AHCA found that the Residents Rights handbook did not include information about residents’ rights for calling the abuse registry themselves if they wanted. AHCA interviews with three facility residents also revealed that none of them knew how to call the abuse hotline or where the number was posted. One of the residents stated “he did not know what I [the AHCA inspector] was talking about and that he did not know where the number [to the abuse hotline] was posted.” Another resident stated “that he did not know that the abuse hotline number was posted throughout the facility.”

In the plan of correction, the facility agreed to develop a teaching curriculum for all students to review the rights of all residents to call the Abuse Registry and to post a written copy of the procedure for reporting abuse and neglect on every unit.