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Inlawmakers and the public were outraged to discover some Oregon children in foster care were sleeping in hotels or state offices due to a lack of other options. Around the same time, Oregon child welfare officials began increasing the of children sent to private, out-of-state facilities.

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Sequel would secure state contracts worth millions of Oregon taxpayer dollars. For most of the time the children were out of state, Oregon had neither a centralized way to track reports of abuse nor a robust way to track the location of all the children.

Another child was reportedly restrained for more than 45 minutes and another passed out after being held down by staff.

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Beleaguered and increasingly desperate child welfare workers trusted the private, for-profit Sequel Youth and Family Services with the state's most vulnerable children, despite allegations of abuse. Sequel officials assured Oregon staff that the building was simply outdated and needed some repairs.

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He was hundreds of miles from home, and so the state of Oregon largely relied on social workers in Utah to check on him and report back. You are so sweet!

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But s, case files and interviews show that for children in foster care who were sent across state lines, Oregon largely trusted a private, for-profit company to ensure they were safe. We love working with you! Caleb climbs a tree near his adult foster home on Monday, Nov. He says this spot on the Willamette River is meditative and important to him because he can't see any man-made buildings or structures from there.

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For Sequel, Oregon was a huge potential profit source. When the state of Oregon takes from their home, child welfare officials assume responsibility for their health and happiness, and for ensuring each youngster receives the care and treatment needed to succeed.

Child welfare officials called an emergency court hearing on Dec. When Caleb first heard their plan to put him on a plane and send him to another state, his breathing grew heavier and he remembers struggling to catch his breath. They came armed with ARs and Glock handguns. By MarchOregon had 56 foster youth placed out of state — including 44 at Sequel campuses. Within hours of receiving thatGlenda Marshall, a key Oregon child welfare official, forwarded it to a marketing executive with Sequel. Children, some as young as 9, were scattered across 16 different states.

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The same staffer gave the boy Marlboro Black cigarettes to smoke on a walk, according to case notes. And Caleb wasn't doing well.

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You could drop me off anywhere in Oregon, and I could figure out how to get back. It seemed like a win-win.

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They also said kids were being sent to facilities with unique programs to meet the specific needs of each child. Marshall had no cause for concern. Jarrett Shoemaker, a regional marketing executive for Sequel, first reached out to Oregon in He traveled to Salem to present to Oregon child welfare staff. At least that way, he said later, he would be thrown in a juvenile detention center and kept in Oregon.

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When pushed to explain the jump, Oregon child welfare officials pointed to dwindling options in Oregon where they could house children in foster care. In Februaryofficials in Tennessee ed their Oregon child welfare counterparts an alert: Tennessee was suspending the of a Sequel facility there. The staffer told the police officer children were restrained until they were cooperative and staff had control. That same year, the Oregon child welfare manager who oversaw the out-of-state program at the time felt comfortable enough to jokingly suggest Shoemaker relocate:.

And so are the cookies you sent! In Januarychild welfare officials appeared to register some concerns about the increase in the of foster kids being shipped across state lines. And the tone of the exchanges became increasingly familiar; the visits and s had turned a business relationship into a friendly one.

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When police investigated the incident, the officer asked what the protocol was for restraining children. State officials never responded to Gelser. The result is a litany of disturbing outcomes: tales of abuse, neglect and vulnerable children left to fend for themselves. The state would have a place to put children. InAltamont Capital Partnersa private investment firm based in San Francisco, acquired a majority stake in Sequel. They later defecated on his clothes. At the same facility, in St. George, Utah, the same campus where Caleb was placed, a dispute between students and staff turned into a full-fledged riot that led the local SWAT team to respond.

All told, through NovemberOregon placed children in Sequel facilities. The majority of them were placed in facilities owned or operated by one company. The result is a litany of disturbing outcomes. ByOregon Child Welfare officials had exchanged thousands of s with Sequel marketing staff. Caleb skates through a public park Monday, Nov. He likes living in a small town, he said, because he gets around mostly on foot and by skateboard.

Inafter pressure from a lawsuitthe state agreed to incrementally reduce the of children they placed in hotel rooms. He had no way of knowing what else he would face. But they kept listening to Sequel. The year-old boy was living in a former hotel that had been converted into a locked youth treatment center in St. George, Utah. A Feb. He got along with his peers. At another Sequel campus, three adults held a teenage girl from Oregon on the ground by her feet, arms and stomach while she struggled to breathe.

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At the same facility, the threat of being physically restrained was always looming: One Washington foster youth told investigators he was afraid to refuse any of the food for fear of being physically restrained. When Oregon wanted to hire a social worker to visit the children who were out of state in person, they asked Sequel for suggestions for whom to hire.

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He also looked for ways to put Sequel staff in front of state officials. They weren't allowed to interact with anyone during this punishment, which lasted three weeks. There was just one problem: The note was about the wrong kid. For Oregon officials, Sequel helped solve — at least temporarily — a political problem, the image of children sleeping in hotel rooms and on office floors. State officials knew they lacked the manpower to keep track of Oregon children once they left the state. But as long as he was in Oregon, he knew who to call if he was in trouble.

He sounded more optimistic than he had in a visit.

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Yet sheriff's deputies had been called to the Tennessee facility more than times inaccording to local news reports. Sequel Youth and Family Services was founded in to run a school for delinquent boys, according to its website. He thought about flipping over a table or causing some kind of scene in the courtroom so he would be charged with a crime.

Somewhere along the way, the state of Oregon stopped listening to the foster youth they are charged with protecting. Oregon, like other states, has struggled to find appropriate places to house its most vulnerable children. A month later, Caleb's caseworker in Oregon spoke to the teenager on the telephone. At the time of theOregon had only placed five children in foster care out of state.

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In AprilOregon state Sen. That was the end of the exchange. This map shows the of times children in foster care were placed in residential treatment facilities out-of-state. And when a state lawmaker started to raise concerns about the children placed across state lines, child welfare officials once again relied on Sequel for answers. An August report from the state of California notes that at Sequel's flagship facility, Clarinda Academy, several children were made to sit in chairs facing the walls all day during the weekends and from 3 p.

In NovemberGlenda Marshall, with Oregon child welfare, mailed cookies to a Sequel admissions coordinator in Utah. Some children went to more than one out-of-state facility. In Utah, he would be far from his brother and hundreds of miles from his girlfriend.

The farther away Oregon kids went, the harder it became for anyone back home — especially the state officials serving as their legal guardians — to hear their voices or track their basic safety and well-being. That was on the first day she arrived and after she had refused to hand over a photograph of her deceased brother.