In their last meeting, the committee appointed to make recommendations to ensure another incident like CJ Lofton’s take place again in spent most of their time focused on why CJ was sent to the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center instead of St. Joseph Hospital for mental assessment.
Lofton, 17, died following a series of events that began with his foster parent calling for mental health assistance for the teen on Sept. 24. While the committee’s list of recommendations involved several areas where they fell change should be addressed, they spent most of their last meeting making sure they made the most appropriate recommendation to avoid other youth who need mental health assistance from ending up in JIAC.
“This is so important,” said committee member Marquetta Atkins.
That evening, the decision to take CJ to JIAC instead of St. Francis was made by Wichita Police Officers. The group worked on a recommendation that will ensure a person trained with mental health assessment is always involved in similar cases and brought in to assist the youth or his/her foster parent in addressing and deescalating the mental health situation.
In CJ’s case, there was an obvious breakdown and mental health assistance was not provided. Instead, WPD was called and as the released videos show, the situation escalated and based on that escalation, they made the decision to take CJ to JIAC instead of transporting him to St. Joseph, which is what they were called for.
The committee’s report and a complete list of recommendations will be released later today.