Was Allendale death an anomaly or more?
An independent review of Allendale Association conducted days after a 16-year-old boy died there says officials will have to "assess whether this incident was, in effect, an anomaly or indicative of systemic problems."
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services released the report Wednesday afternoon in the wake of the death of Shaquan Allen of Chicago at Allendale's Lake Villa campus. One Allendale worker has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and another with obstruction of justice. Authorities said one of the men put Allen in a chokehold in an effort to get him back to his room.
"Going forward, it will be important for all parties to assess whether this incident was, in effect, an anomaly or indicative of systemic problems associated with behavioral management at Allendale requiring additional training or other corrective actions," the independent University of Illinois Chicago reviewers wrote.
Allendale President Mary Shahbazian said that the agency's cooperation with both the state and the independent university reviewers continues but that she hadn't seen a written report.
"We're continuing to cooperate with any of the external reviews and, again, just looking internally to make sure that we're doing everything we need to do to respond appropriately to this really, tragic event," she said.
Regulation and monitoring monthly reports from DCFS in December, January and February did not detail any inappropriate staff behavior at the Bush cottage where Allen lived.
The UIC report of the reviewers' April 2 visit says "monitors observed all the units to be running smoothly, including the Bush cottage" where Allen had lived.
"The children/youth appeared stable and seemed to feel safe," the report reads. "Programming was relaxed on all the units; children/youth were either watching movies or participating in therapeutic recreation activities."
Shahbazian said the UIC investigators could be back on the campus next week.