Ascent Children’s provides developmental and treatment services to children and adolescents throughout Arkansas. Amidst a regulatory investigation and after a string of serious problems, Ascent abruptly announced it would permanently close all of its seven facilities by November 30th (see letter here).
A five-year-old boy was killed in June 2017 after staffers left him inside a hot van with a disabled safety alarm, resulting in criminal manslaughter indictments. State officials had launched an additional investigation in December 2017 into incidents of alleged child maltreatment at the center. Local media reported the facility was already on probation “after officials said a boy was left unsupervised outside for hours, later found bloodied and bruised near the playground”. That incident reportedly led to the termination of two employees. Furthermore, a media report states that Arkansas regulators referred Acadia’s Ascent Children’s to the Office of Medicaid’s Inspector General for certain billing irregularities.
The CEO of Ascent was Dan Sullivan, an Arkansas Congressman that Acadia has donated money to. Sullivan pushed for less regulation of child care facilities and passed legislation reducing government oversight. Sullivan announced his retirement in the months following the boys death.
- Boy, 5, Found Dead After Spending 8 Hours in Van Outside Children's Health Clinic: Cops
- Newspaper: MH Ascent vans twice had alarm trouble
- Another Investigation Involving A Little Rock Location Of Ascent Children's Health Services
- Another inquiry for Ascent, this one on Medicaid billings
- Arkansas lawmaker to retire from Ascent child care; boy died in hot van during his tenure
- NLR Childcare Center Once Again Under Investigation
- 4 WEst Memphis Daycare Employees Charged With Manslaughter in Toddler's Hot Van Death
- 5-year-old Arkansas boy dies after being left in hot van at day care
- Ascent Childrens health services close all facilities
- Special-Needs Child Dies at Anti-Regulation Lawmaker’s Daycare
- Notification of Closure (60 KB, pdf)