Lawsuit: Teen exposed to abuse at Harwinton group home
Published reports say a mother is suing the Bridge Family Center in Harwinton over claims her daughter, 14, was physically abused at the group home.
The lawsuit reportedly claims the girl was exposed to inappropriate activities, including the sexual assault of minors and other illegal acts.
The report says the girl lived at the home from April 25 to June 26 of this year.
The Department of Children and Families confirms to News 12 there is a hold on admissions at the Harwinton facility.
A statement released on behalf of the group home reads:
"Immediate action has been taken and several individuals have been terminated as a result. Now we will support and continue to work with authorities in any way we can to provide a high level of care to the youth we serve."
"This incident is not what we want the Harwinton STAR program to be known for. We had a situation that we dealt with that was unacceptable and is not OK. With that said, we have and will continue to work closely with DCF and with the proper authorities to strengthen our services. At the Bridge, we care for some very complicated and traumatized individuals, who are here because of often horrendous circumstances and I am outraged like many others that this happened here,"
"We also understand the frustration with agencies that have to respond to our program, however the number of calls made are based on DCF protocols, for example if a child has gone missing for a period of time, we are mandated to call law enforcement. Their efforts and response is noticed and appreciated." Again, we are dealing with some very complex young people that need our help and the understanding of the Harwinton community."
A statement from Bridge Family Center's executive director reads:
"Since the Bridge opened in 1969 and in 25-years here as Executive Director, we have never been in a situation where a lawsuit has been filled against us of this nature.
Last year alone, we served the needs of more than 9,000 people through our programs, many of whom have suffered through unimaginable situations. The allegations that have come forward are something that we never want to see happen to anyone and because it is now a legal matter, we cannot discuss it publicity, even though there are additional details in this case that will eventually be divulged.
Immediate and corrective measures were taken and we are in constant communication in DCF and those involved in this on-going matter. Our main focus continues to be addressing the immediate and day to day needs of our residents, many of whom are trauma survivors though no fault of their own and to offer them the care and support that they need and deserve."