Health & Welfare investigating allegations of abuse and neglect at Southwest Idaho Treatment Center

Posted at 12:47 PM, Jul 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-13 07:33:12-04

The Department of Health and Welfare is investigating allegations of “physical and psychological abuse and neglect by staff members involving seven adult residents at the Southwest Idaho Treatment Center (SWITC) in Nampa,” according to Health and Welfare Department spokeswoman Niki Forbing-Orr.

The Center provides assessment, training, and treatment to people with intellectual disabilities, until they can be safely transitioned back into their communities. The facility currently has 25 residents and 109 permanent and temporary employees.

"These actions go against everything we stand for and are being treated with the utmost urgency,” said DHW Director Russ Barron. “The safety of residents is our highest concern and priority, especially in this challenging environment. We follow procedures that ensure the safety and dignity of those in our care. I am extremely disappointed that some staff have not followed those procedures. They will be disciplined, including dismissal if the circumstances are warranted.”

The Department is investigating operations campus-wide. However, the allegations appear to be localized and focused on employees assigned to one shift in one section of one building, Forbing-Orr stated. Employees implicated in the allegations were immediately placed on paid leave.

“The investigation was triggered when an employee followed internal policies and reported concerns about resident safety in late June. Because of the complicated nature of the investigation, and strict protocols the Department follows, the investigation is anticipated to be finished by the end of July. DHW has notified the Nampa Police Department,” Forbing-Orr said.