The Program Director at the Milton Girls Juvenile Residential Facility is under investigation by law enforcement for excessive use of force and improper conduct in a November 2 incident, according to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).
Carol Andrus is accused of grabbing the neck of a restrained client and throwing the 15-year-old to the ground. The DJJ report indicates the teenager received lacerations to her face and ear "that looked like it needed stitches."
This follows the Dec. 4 arrest of Shannon Linn Abbott, 33, of Milton, who served as a correctional officer at the same facility. She is currently still employed, but not in contact with juvenile clients, according to officials.
In response to this complaint and the arrest of Abbott, the Department of Juvenile Justice has placed an admissions freeze effective today on the facility.
Citing "safety and security concerns" and "a pattern of improper conduct leading to safety and security issues", the Juvenile Residential Facility located in East Milton changed policy and placed two staff members on all shifts until further notice.
In a memo dated Dec. 14, Laura K. Moneyham, the assistant secretary for residential services, notified Behavioral Health Services, Inc. of Jacksonville, and the Gulf Coast Treatment Center, Inc, of Ft. Walton Beach, about the changes in policy.
In addition, Moneyham notes the freeze will cause the facility to have "vacant beds to be unavailable". Subsequently she says, the reduced "number of unfilled beds, per day" will cause a reduction in the amount paid to the providers.
DJJ issued a release stating, "We wish to again make it clear that DJJ will not tolerate activities which place the youth for whom we are responsible in harm's way, including those under the supervision of our contract providers."
Their current contract with DJJ is set to expire on Sept. 3, 2014 as they are working on a three-year renewal.
In all the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has paid $35,032,567.80 since the contract started. DJJ has a value of $6.483,689.40 remaining on the current contract. Nicole Stookey, the Northwest Region Communication Director for the Department of Children and Families, stated there had been 78 investigations at the facility since June 30, 2003. This number does not include the incident where Abbott was arrested and charged with battery.
Stookey said in 76 of those cases there were no indicators of abuse and in the other two cases the allegations were not substantiated.
Bill Gamblin contributed to this story.