LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Michael Webber, along with Sen. Jim Runestad and Reps. Tom Kuhn, Jamie Thompson and Mark Tisdel, will call on the state’s auditor general to investigate Michigan’s only state-run psychiatric hospital for minors following a Friday morning Protect MI Kids listening session they hosted with families whose loved ones have suffered in the care of the Hawthorn Center and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Child Protective Services.
“I am extremely thankful to the families who came forward and shared their heartbreaking stories with us; too many young people are suffering when they are supposed to be protected,” said Webber, R-Rochester Hills. “We have a duty to these families to ensure state officials are held accountable and restore confidence for our residents. I believe it is imperative that the state’s Office of the Auditor General investigate the Hawthorn Center in order for us to have a fuller picture of the institution’s failings, and I will request that report. I also will work with state lawmakers to help solve more obvious concerns. We can and will do better for these vulnerable young people in the state’s care.”
The most recent OAG audit of the Hawthorn Center was conducted in 2014 on the effectiveness of the center’s operations, including timeliness of assessments, medication inventory monitoring, internal incident investigative processes, and more. It did not focus on patient care or clinical decisions, opinions of staff about patient treatment, or the effectiveness of the Office of Recipient Rights at the Center, which is responsible for patient treatment complaints.
On June 14, Webber, who serves as minority vice chair on the Senate Committee on Health Policy, sent letters requesting a hearing to investigate ongoing problems at the Hawthorn Center in Northville Township.
At least 17 young patients have escaped from the center under the supervision of Hawthorn personnel and the facility is the subject of a lawsuit pending from an active shooter drill that took place there in December 2022. Officials also have plans to temporarily house patients at Reuther Hospital, where adults are currently being treated, while the aged facility is demolished and reconstructed.
Recent media reports have also brought serious issues to light concerning CPS, including a recent in-depth investigative report by The Detroit News.