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October 25th, 2016

Teen at Philly Youth Residential Facility Dies, Wordsworth Residential Program Ceasing Operations

It’s been nearly two weeks since a teen died after being restrained by employees at Wordsworth residential facility in Philadelphia. On October 13, 2016, a 17 year old died after losing consciousness in a struggle with the facility’s employees. According to a local news report, the youth was agitated and engaged in a physical struggle with employees. He was pronounced dead by first responders.

It’s unclear what caused the teen’s death. However, another news report cites sources who said that the teen was placed into a headlock in an attempt to subdue him. It’s speculation at this point, but the headlock may have been what caused the teen to lose consciousness. The Philadelphia Police Department is investigating.

Wordsworth Residential Program Ceasing Operations

Wordsworth is a private organization which partners with various city/county organizations such as the Philadelphia School District and other local school districts, to provide multiple services including a residential treatment program. The residential program targets children between the ages of 9-19 with special behavioral and/or emotional needs.

According to a statement by Wordsworth, its residential treatment program is ceasing operations per the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ Bureau of Human Service Licensing. The remaining 90 children will be moved to other facilities. The organization will continue with its other services.

PA Residential Facility Closes After Sex Abuse Allegations

Last year, a youth residential facility in Butler County, PA was closed after allegations of widespread sex abuse among children. An investigation by the Department of Human Services revealed serious issues including improper supervision of children, failure to report missing children and insufficient staffing levels. In addition, DHS found that the residential facility failed to properly implement policies and procedures.

Related Legal Articles

Sex Assault & Abuse in Pennsylvania Youth Institutions [Legal info about sex assault and abuse in youth treatment facilities in Pennsylvania. Learn about the different legal remedies including criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits.]

Negligence & Accidents/Injuries in Pennsylvania – A Look at Premises Liability Law [When are businesses and private organizations liable for accidents or injuries? Learn about “premises liability” law which includes negligence actions for fall accidents, insufficient security, etc.]


  • philly.com, State shuts down Philly program after teen’s death in fight with staff
  • 6abc.com, Wordsworth Academy stopping program following teen’s death