LOCAL NEWS

Application filed to reopen Diamond Ranch Academy under new name

Mar 12, 2024, 6:12 PM | Updated: Mar 13, 2024, 9:19 am

HURRICANE, Washington County — A father who lost his daughter under the care of Diamond Ranch Academy boarding school for troubled teens is concerned it could happen again as efforts are underway to reopen the school under a new name.

Even with a new name and new license, it’s not necessarily new management and that’s why at least one father doesn’t want the site of the old Diamond Ranch to open up again.

Taylor Goodridge died at Diamond Ranch Academy

Taylor Goodridge died after collapsing at Diamond Ranch residential treatment facility for troubled teens in Hurricane on Dec. 22, 2022. (Goodridge family)

The school in Hurricane closed last September.

“Angry, frustrated, upset,” Dean Goodridge said.

He is concerned those consequences could be short-lived. He said his daughter Taylor asked to go there from her home in Washington state, to get help. Goodridge said his daughter died from a stomach infection that could have been treated but she was denied care.

Dean Goodridge. His daughter died at Diamond Ranch Academy.

Dean Goodrich is the father of Taylor Goodridge. She died at Diamond Ranch Academy. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

“I don’t know how he sleeps at night,” Goodridge said about caseworker Adam Cheney.

Cheney is listed as the new director for the upcoming RAFA Academy. He’s also named in a lawsuit Goodridge’s family filed against Diamond Ranch.

According to application documents, RAFA has a different address but it’s actually the old Diamond Ranch Parkway that is now renamed Hope Circle, a privately-owned road.

“How could you open up another facility with your name on it at that same property where you know she died?” Goodridge said.

Mission statements

These are the mission statements posted to the Diamond Ranch Academy and RAFA Academy websites. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

It’s also the very same business model. Not only do the websites look the same, but mission statements from Diamond Ranch and RAFA Academy are seemingly copied and pasted from the old site to the new except that RAFA would open for boys only.

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services said it’s looking into a possible license renewal.

State response to the This image shows information that was apparently copied from the Desert Ranch Academy website and pasted to the RAFA Academy application

Statement from the Utah Department of Health and Human Services. (KSL TV)

In an email response to KSL, the department said it takes the health and safety of those in its licensed facilities seriously.

“Our role in regulating licensed programs is to make sure programs are complying with administrative rules and regulations designed to provide a healthy and safe environment for those in care. DHHS works to provide the best possible service within the scope of our regulatory authority,” the email stated.

In the meantime, Goodridge said he’ll do all he can to make sure it doesn’t happen.

“They took something precious from us. I’m not going to let them do this to somebody else,” Goodridge said. KSL reached out to Adam Cheney, the director of RAFA Academy, but there has not been a response.

The department said with these applications it reviews the history of the program and prior participants and their past conduct and actions taken against them.

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Application filed to reopen Diamond Ranch Academy under new name