From CPP: DHHS makes good on threat to revoke NC mountain wilderness therapy camp’s license

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services building in Raleigh. Frank Taylor / Carolina Public Press / File

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services revoked Trails Carolina’s license, according to a letter DHHS sent May 17 to camp management, because the residential therapeutic camp violated state regulations.

The state’s decision to revoke the camp’s license will be effective in 60 days, the letter said, and Trails Carolina can contest the decision within that time.

State surveyors found deficiencies during a visit to the Transylvania County facility near Lake Toxaway on March 21.

Regulators cited Trails Carolina for failing to provide services using the “least restrictive and most appropriate methods that promoted a safe environment,” as well as failing to protect the client from harm and neglecting him, according to the state’s report made public April 23.

Surveyors also found Trails Carolina violated medication administration requirements, failed to ensure clients could communicate with their parents or guardians and failed to comply with incident reporting requirements, the report said.

DHHS announced the agency’s intent to revoke the camp’s license and assessed penalties of $18,000 for some of the violations on March 28.

Trails Carolina had an opportunity to prove the camp was in compliance by submitting a plan of correction before the state went ahead with the decision. Camp staff also met with DHHS in April to discuss the state’s findings, according to DHHS.

The announcement on Friday means that the state decided to uphold the initial decision, as well as the penalties and suspension of admissions to the camp.

The state’s move came after a 12-year-old boy died Feb. 3 at the camp. He arrived a day before the incident, according to a press release from the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office.

One camp staffer indicated the boy may have “suffocated” in an interview with law enforcement that was included in the state’s report of deficiencies.

The exact cause of death is still under investigation, according to the Sheriff’s Office, although an autopsy conducted Feb. 6 showed the death appeared not to be natural.

A 17-year-old boy also died a decade earlier after attempting to flee the camp, multiple news media reported at the time.The program also faces a lawsuit from a former attendee who describes being sexually assaulted at the camp, claiming management failed to take action.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

This article first appeared on Carolina Public Press and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.


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One thought on “From CPP: DHHS makes good on threat to revoke NC mountain wilderness therapy camp’s license

  1. Voirdire

    Well great, this is all well and good.. finally. Now what about criminal charges? Two young people died at this camp… the twelve year old boy this past February from suffocation. Those involved in his death need to be held accountable. Period.

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