Another Sequel Youth and Family Services facility has closed, marking the 13 closures for this for-profit troubled teen industry giant. Northern Illinois Academy is the latest closure since 2019.
There has been a long history of reports of abuse for Sequel Youth and Family Services, most notably a case out of Michigan, where Cornelius Fredriks was restrained by 6 adult male staff, piling on top of the 16-year-old, ultimately resulting in his death. The restraint was retaliation for throwing a sandwich. Cornelious laid lifeless in that cafeteria for 15 minutes before the school nurse eventually called 911.
Quite a number of Sequel facilities have had horrific allegations of abuse over the years. Last year, survivors told NBC news that they were subjected to physical abuse and medical neglect, including a 14-year-old boy who had his head slammed into a wall. The child was then refused medical care. Similar stories came out of Sequel facilities in Alabama in the NBC investigation, where survivors described being told to kill themselves or being taunted about sensitive subjects, such as one child’s deceased father. Sequel also uses solitary confinement and pharmacological manipulation.
In 2019, a former staff member at a Sequel facility in Illinois was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting a child in the facility.
Despite its many allegations of physical and sexual abuse, Sequel continues to secure government funds and grants, as well as private funding, and is currently worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Many children are sent to these facilities from juvenile justice systems in other states. These states currently pay between 250 – 800 USD per day, per child. Alabama Human Resources continues to pay Sequel 68 million USD per year for these children.
Sequel has now closed another facility after Illinois investigative authorities looked into abuse charges at their Northern Illinois Academy location. Many of the locations recently investigated have reported cases of sexual abuse, assualt, and innapropriate and often unlawful behavior by staff.
The closure came after a state-reviewed investigation of the facility found horrific conditions that included physical and psychological abuse.
Unfortunately, many of the children who were currently housed at the facility in Illinois are now being transferred to other Sequel facilities around the United States.
It has often been found that private run juvenile detention centers funnel kids into these programs after being closed or reaching capacity. After the closure of Mesabi Academy, St. Louis County, Wisconsin dispersed their detainees to other facilities both in state, and across state lines. Some of these minors ended up in Sequal facilities. These types of government partnerships are funneling tax payer dollars into privately-run facilities with little to no oversight.
Sequel currently has operating facilities in 20 different states.
Breaking Code Silence is a recently-formed, survivor-run nonprofit organization, aimed at tackling the ‘Troubled Teen Industry.’ Through advocacy, awareness, research, and legislation, Breaking Code Silence is building a network of survivor resources and funds to begin taking on these facilities and those at the helm of the abuse.
To find out how you can get involved, click here.