Gary Smith, president of the State Employees' Association, said both Health and Human Services and the attorney general had investigated the claims of abuse. All the workers involved, Smith said, were exonerated.
"They found no wrongdoing," Smith said. "These are not two organizations that take these matters lightly or would be prone to covering things up. We stand behind what the outcome was."
Those investigations were insufficient, according to the Disabilities Rights Center. Documentation was scarce, the report said, and many required forms were incomplete, missing or difficult to obtain. The report also expressed concern about a lack of oversight at the youth center.....
The youth center's practices, the report found, are outdated, are harmful to children and don't employ best practices for dealing with people with mental illnesses.
"There are some really good standards out there that require that the center take a more treatment-based, rehabilitative approach versus the more punitive approach they seem to be taking," Cohen said.
When the investigation began last June, Cohen was concerned about the boy's well-being, but those worries soon broadened. Between 68 percent and 80 percent of children served by New Hampshire's juvenile justice system are diagnosed with mental illness. The staff members who interact with them on a daily basis, Cohen said, may not be equipped to deal with the complexities of their conditions.....
During one restraint that July, the report said, J.D.'s elbow was fractured, although he didn't receive proper medical care in part because the X-ray machine was broken. According to the report, this wasn't the first time J.D. was hurt while at the youth center. That May, he was examined for head and hand injuries, although it's unclear how they occurred.
With NH AG Kelly Ayotte at the helm, no one is safe.