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State takes action against Utah facility where disabled boy died in hot car

After a 12-year-old boy died in a hot car this week, the Utah Department of Human Services has placed the American Fork facility caring for the boy under conditional status.

After a 12-year-old boy died in a hot car this week, the Utah Department of Human Services has placed the American Fork facility caring for the boy under conditional status. (Shutterstock)



SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Human Services has taken action against a service provider for people with developmental disabilities two days after a boy in its care died from being left in a hot car.

Roost Services in American Fork is now under conditional status, meaning it cannot accept new clients, and it needs to meet several requirements before it can potentially resume normal operations after 90 days or more.

Joshua Hancey, 12, was found in the car near Roost Services at 42 N. 200 East, police said. He was in the care of that facility when he was left behind by a staff member for more than two hours. Outdoor temperatures were in the 90s.

Roost Services "failed to take reasonable measures to ensure client safety. Licensee left a minor client in an unsupervised car with the windows rolled up, which is not a safe physical environment for a child. This failure resulted in the death of the client," according to the notice to Roost Services provided by the Department of Human Services.

Officials say that wasn't the first incident involving Joshua. He "wandered off" on both July 11 and the day before he died, the notice states.

The owner of Roost Services said they "provided training to staff on the client's behavior plan and the need to be alert at all times to keep him safe," officials said.

According to the notice, the company violated the following licensing rules:

  • Following a written staff-to-consumer ratio.
  • Having a staff member trained by a certified instructor in first aid and CPR on duty with clients at all times.
  • Employing professional staff that includes people with training in services for people with disabilities, client supervision, operation of the facility, and providing the services and treatment stated in clients' plans.
  • Supervising clients as necessary and encouraging them to participate in activities.

The company needs to immediately notify clients, their guardians and state agencies that place clients in the program that it is under an agency action from the Department of Human Services within five days, as well as post a notice of the action at its building and on its websites until the penalty is lifted.

The provider can't accept any new clients while the action is in effect or until the state says in writing that new admissions can resume. Roost Services is required to give the state its weekly staff schedules and daily client counts at least three days before each work week begins "in order to demonstrate compliance with staffing requirements," the notice states.

The business also needs to let the state know "in real time" if any changes to the schedule occur.

Roost Services is required to cooperate with investigators and keep any documentation that might assist the investigation into the death.

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