After 3 deaths, state denies Diamond Ranch Academy license for youth treatment
Jul 14, 2023, 2:31 PM | Updated: 10:48 pm
HURRICANE, Utah — Diamond Ranch Academy, which has had three client deaths, including a 17-year-old girl in 2022, will not have its license renewed and will have to release all its clients by Aug. 14.
A license denial notice from the Utah Department of Health and Human Services was delivered on July 11 to the facility that its license to operate as a “therapeutic boarding school” and “residential treatment” would end. The current license expires July 31, but the facility will be allowed to operate until Aug. 14 if it discharges clients by that date and maintains its required staffing and medical care until then.
In a statement Diamond Ranch Academy said it “sadly announces the closure of its operations after providing dedicated services for the past 24 years.” It cites unfair treatment from “the State of Utah.”
The state has placed Diamond Ranch on a conditional license two times and has had two corrective actions plans since 2013.
In its statement, Diamond Ranch said its “decision to cease operations” was spurned by unfair treatment and the state’s “lack of concern for the safety, well-being, and treatment of youth in programs.”
On Dec. 22, 2022, Taylor Goodridge from Washington, was admitted to the facility in “generally in good health” according to documents from Utah’s Department of Commerce.
Her father said she was an active member of the Stillaguamish Tribe in Washington. His family has filed a lawsuit against the facility.
“Taylor was an amazing child. She was always smiling and laughing,” her father Dean Goodridge said. “Losing her didn’t just affect our family, it affected the tribe, it affected the community.”
The state’s document describes her illness during the last week of her life.
it states Goodridge reported back pain and difficulty breathing on Dec. 9, 2022, started vomiting a few days later on Dec. 12 and was seen by medical staff the following day where an elevated heart rate was recorded, either by Hughes or Brooks Wiley, a psychiatric nurse practitioner.
Goodridge vomited over the next week and staff and students noted that she appeared ill with pale skin. She requested to be taken to a hospital but was not. Her stomach distended.
On Dec. 20, 2022 Wiley signed a medical note and blood was drawn, but she collapsed and died the same day, before lab results.
Staff at the school performed CPR while police officers and medical personnel from the Hurricane Valley Fire District responded to the scene. When emergency personnel arrived, they continued CPR. Their efforts were unsuccessful and the student was pronounced dead.
Diamond Ranch issued a statement through its executive director, Ricky Dias. It states:
Diamond Ranch Academy Regrettably Announces Closure after 24 Years of Service
Diamond Ranch Academy (DRA), a prominent name in the field of therapeutic boarding schools, sadly announces the closure of its operations after providing dedicated services for the past 24 years. This difficult decision comes after careful consideration of numerous factors affecting the viability and sustainability of the institution.
Since its establishment in 1999, Diamond Ranch Academy has been committed to fostering a safe and supportive environment for students in need of therapeutic intervention and academic excellence. Throughout its tenure, the academy has prided itself on its highly qualified staff, comprehensive programs, and commitment to the growth and development of its students.
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. Additionally, the Utah State Department of Health Services and CPS failed to provide due process to DRA and have made false allegations against the 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. Their unwavering commitment and passion have played a pivotal role in shaping the lives of countless individuals who have passed through the doors of Diamond Ranch Academy.
Equally important, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to the parents and guardians who entrusted us with the well-being and growth of their children. Your trust and support have been invaluable, and we are truly grateful for the opportunity to have played a part in the journey of your loved ones.
As we bring our operations to a close, Diamond Ranch Academy would like to reflect on the positive impact it has made over the past two decades. 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.
We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to everyone who has been part of Diamond Ranch Academy’s journey. Although the closure marks the end of an era, we are confident that the seeds of resilience, growth, and healing that were sown within these walls will continue to flourish in new and promising avenues.