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Press Release Detail

DJJ Provides Counseling to Youth and Staff at Avon Park Youth Academy

For immediate release:


TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) has grief counselors on site to provide comfort and support to youth and staff at Avon Park Youth Academy in Polk County, after a17 year old youth collapsed and died Monday evening while playing basketball.

The youth was immediately attended to by facility staff. The Air Force Fire Fighters arrived soon after and continued CPR begun by the facility nurse. EMS arrived shortly thereafter and transported the youth to Florida Hospital in Sebring, FL. Attempts to resuscitate the youth were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at 8:14 p.m. Cause of death is unknown at this time. An autopsy will be performed and the DJJ Inspector General’s office has begun an investigation.

“This is a shock to all of us,” said DJJ Secretary Frank Peterman Jr. “Any child’s death is a tragedy. Our hearts and prayers are with his family, and we will make sure that assistance and support is provided to them during this difficult time.”

Department leadership immediately reached out the youth’s family, and are traveling to the facility today to meet with the youth and staff, and the family of the deceased.

Avon Park Youth Academy is moderate-risk, residential treatment program contracted G4S Youth Services LLC, which administers several state programs for youth through DJJ. The program serves youth male offenders 16-18 years of age and offers education and vocational training for youth who may not be planning on returning to a traditional school setting.

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