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New rule bans child care facilities from using a certain restraint

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The state issued an emergency rule today to ban the use of certain types of restraints in child care facilities. That comes after a teenager died in Kalamazoo in May because of a restraint.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says facilities can no longer use so called “prone” restraints, or any restraint that restricts breathing.

MDHHS says it’s also looking at racial disparities in the child welfare system. Cornelius Fredericks, the teenager who died in Kalamazoo, was Black. 

Robert Gordon is head of the agency.

“Much as George Floyd’s death triggered our society to grapple with institutional racism in policing, this young man’s death forces us to grapple with institutional racism in our child welfare system,” said Gordon.

JooYeun Chang is head of the state’s Children’s Services Agency. She says the state missed early warning signs at the facility where 16-year-old Cornelius Fredericks was restrained.

“I think one of the things we want to do is make sure we are looking not only at that individual incident, but that incident in the context of the other things that the facility has in place,” says Chang.

Three of the FORMER staffers who held down Fredericks now face criminal charges.