Ascent Children’s

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.