Teen treatment facility Diamond Ranch Academy closing after Utah denies license renewal

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HURRICANE — Diamond Ranch Academy in Hurricane will close next month, after the Utah Department of Health and Human Services declined to renew its license.

The teen residential treatment facility was put on probation in December after 17-year-old Taylor Goodridge died after becoming ill and collapsing. Goodridge's father, Dean Goodridge, filed a lawsuit against the facility, alleging the academy acted negligently.

Dean Goodridge told KSL-TV his daughter "would be so happy" to hear the academy is closing, "because Diamond Ranch would not be able to do to another child what they did to her."

Goodridge's attorney said the Utah Department of Health and Human Services denied a license renewal for Diamond Ranch, and said the facility must close by Aug. 14. Officials from the department confirmed the denial, citing "severe physical neglect" and other concerns.

"The Taylor Goodridge family is finally finding validation that their daughter's death was not accidental," the family's lawyers said in a prepared statement. "They are pleased that both the Division of Professional Licensing and the Department of Human Services is holding Diamond Ranch Academy responsible for its terrible decisions. The Diamond Ranch has put itself where it finds itself now."

In a statement provided to KSL.com, Diamond Ranch Executive Director Ricky Dias said, "The decision to cease operations has been spurned by unfair treatment from the state of Utah which has consistently demonstrated its lack of concern for the safety, well-being and treatment of youth in programs."

Dias said the department didn't provide Diamond Ranch due process and that it made "false allegations against DRA's assistant medical director and DRA which will be refuted in court."

"We extend our deepest gratitude to our dedicated staff members, who have worked tirelessly over the years to provide the highest standard of care and education to our students. ... The academy's legacy will forever remain in the hearts and minds of the students, families and professionals whose lives have been touched by our institution," he continued.

The Disability Law Center of Utah also issued a statement Friday saying the academy should have had its license revoked "long ago."

"We urge state leaders to take a hard look at our system and make any necessary reforms to ensure facilities are held accountable before needless tragedies occur," the center said in the statement. "We look forward to seeing the department demonstrate a sustained commitment to taking necessary action and to working with them to protect vulnerable Utahns from abuse and neglect."

An autopsy revealed Goodridge had been sick for 12 days prior to her death on Dec. 20, 2022. It also found she died of peritonitis, an infection of the abdomen tissue.

The academy filed for Dean Goodridge's lawsuit alleging staff there knew his daughter was sick and refused to help to be dismissed in March.

Dean Goodridge said his family is spending the weekend at Disneyland, one of Taylor Goodridge's favorite places, commemorating what would have been her 18th birthday on Saturday.

"She should be here with us," Dean Goodridge said. "I'm not going away. They (Diamond Ranch Academy) still need to be held accountable for what they did to my daughter."

According to reports, two other children have died while at Diamond Ranch Academy. NBC News reported that 14-year-old James Shirey Jr. died of complications from congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a genetic disorder, while at the academy in 2009.

A 2013 lawsuit alleged that a 16-year-old boy who had been suicidal was left unsupervised, tried to hang himself and that staff members failed to get him down for two and a half minutes. The boy died of his injuries two days later.

Diamond Ranch Academy's license will expire at the end of July. The academy has 15 days to request a hearing to dispute the decision.

Correction: An earlier version incorrectly stated that Taylor Goodridge died on Dec. 21, 2022; she died Dec. 20, 2022.

Contributing: Gabrielle Shiozawa, Mike Anderson

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Bridger Beal-Cvetko covers Utah politics, Salt Lake County communities and breaking news for KSL.com. He is a graduate of Utah Valley University.


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