News Briefs: Archives 2011 & Earlier

Restraint Death Ruled a Homicide


An Ohio youth residential treatment center is under investigation after a 17-year-old girl died there in December while being held down by center employees who used a controversial face-down restraint. Last month, the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office ruled her death a homicide.

The victim, Faith Finley, died at Parmadale Family Services in Parma, where she had been a resident for about six months. News reports say Finley had become disruptive at the center before being restrained. Parmadale is operated by Catholic Charities Health and Human Services and licensed by the state.

The coroner’s report states that Finley died when “physical restraint induced near traumatic asphyxia.” It also says she choked on her own vomit.

News reports have stated the girl died while being held in the controversial “prone restraint,” which has been banned in several states. Ohio is not one of them.

The incident is being reviewed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. A spokesman for the agency says that, depending on the outcome of the investigation, the department could simply impose a corrective action plan or revoke Parmadale’s license.

Finley had been placed at Parmadale by Summit County Children’s Services, which has since removed most of the nine children it had placed there. The remaining children it placed will be removed as soon as a suitable placement can be found, a Summit County official said.

J. Thomas Mullen, president of Catholic Charities, did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Parmadale staff members have received training in physical restraint from Cornell University’s Residential Child Care Project. Directors at the Cornell project declined to discuss the fatal incident, because many details have not been disclosed.

“There is too much missing to make any conclusions or even guesses from this report,” said Martha Holden, co-developer of the Cornell project. She reviewed the coroner’s report on Finley’s death at the request of Youth Today.

Her remarks were echoed by other experts who train residential care workers in how to use physical restraint.

“It’s our position that you have to look at [these cases] more specifically. You can’t just make an assumption that this is a result of prone position,” said Joseph K. Mullen, president of JKM Training and creator of JKM’s Safe Crisis Management Program. (Joseph K. Mullen and J. Thomas Mullen are not related.)

Mullen said there are safe and unsafe uses of prone restraint, and other variables, such as prescribed medication and other medical conditions, including sickle cell disease, can contribute to a prone position-induced death.

Two center employees are on paid leave while police investigate.


Youth Today is the only independent, internationally distributed digital media publication that is read by thousands of professionals in the youth service field.

Youth Today adheres to high-quality journalistic standards, providing readers with professional news coverage dedicated to examining a wide spectrum of complex issues in the youth services industry from legislation to community-based youth work.


Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue.


We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Donors may be quoted, mentioned or featured in our stories. Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions…(read more)

Recent Comments




Kennesaw State University Mountain Logo & Ceneter for Sustainable Journalism Logo
LOGO Institute for Nonprofit News 3 turquoise boxes stacked in "J" shape

Copyright © 2018 Youth Today and MVP Themes --- Published by Center for Sustainable Journalism,
Kennesaw State University, 1200 Chastain Blvd. Suite 310, Kennesaw GA 30144

To Top