Valley group home facing accusations

Michael Lopardi

Photo: Video by ktnv.com

Valley group home facing accusations

CREATED Aug. 5, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A group home for girls with behavior problems is accused of not taking care of its kids. The allegations have prompted a state lawmaker to call for an investigation.

The home, managed by A Brighter Day Family Services, is accused of not providing basic supplies to residents and inappropriate contact involving a staff member.
 
"The entire point of this is to figure out whether any of these allegations are true," said Flores.
 
The lawmaker said the accusations include no toilet paper for up to two days, alcohol and tobacco in the home and a girl under 18 allegedly sitting in the lap of a staff member. Flores revealed the accusations during a public meeting last Thursday; she said the information came from a parent, an advocate and former workers.
 
"If allegations come to me that I feel are serious enough, I think the very first thing we need to be concerned about is finding out the truth," said Flores.
 
The leader of A Brighter Day is denying the accusations. The facility is home to girls with a variety of backgrounds, some of whom have spent time in the justice system.
 
"We are a transparent agency and we have nothing to hide," said Kirby Burgess, executive director.
 
Burgess invited Action News inside the home for a tour. The facility is currently home to four girls under age 18 but has room for up to eight.
 
Burgess showed us stacks of supplies, including toilet paper and food. The executive director said common areas are monitored by security cameras. So where are the accusations coming from?
 
"I think it's coming from a disgruntled court employee who made accusations," said Burgess. 
 
Clark County Department of Family Services is not talking about the investigation but Burgess said two county investigators visited the home on Friday to review documents and surveillance footage and conduct interviews.
 
"We want the public to know that these kids are safe here and supervised properly and once they leave here, they're better off than when they came to us," Burgess said.
 
Burgess said he personally shops for supplies and the home offers online schooling to keep girls from getting alcohol or cigarettes from the outside. 
 
"If, at the end of the day, 100 percent of this turns out to be inaccurate, then great," said Flores. "It means we are providing a safe environment for our kids."
 
Action News had the chance to talk with three girls currently living in the home without staff in the same room; their time at the home ranged from one month to seven months. 
 
The three residents said they never went without toilet paper or food. One girl said the inappropriate contact accusation likely came from a former resident who was unhappy and vowed to "say anything" to get the facility closed.
 
Burgess said the county's investigation could take up to 30 days. 

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