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County puts hold on sending kids to group home

Waiting for state findings after drowning
Posted at 5:35 PM, Jul 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-20 18:23:53-04

Cuyahoga County's Division of Children and Family Services says it is no longer sending kids to a group home under state investigation after the drowning of a 13-year-old earlier this month.

A spokeswoman says the county hasn't placed any teens in Quality Care Residential Homes since Shaud Howell disappeared after a trip to Edgewater Beach on July 6.  Howell's body was recovered from Lake Erie two days later.

Quality Care's administrator, Desmond Johnson, says a group home employee did not have permission to take Howell and two other teens to the beach that night.  Johnson says the worker was fired after the tragedy.

Ohio's Department of Job and Family Services has opened an investigation into the group home.  Cuyahoga County says it won't place any children with the agency pending the outcome of that investigation.

The county has a $550,646 contract with Quality Care to provide "out-of-home placement and foster care services" for 2018.

State records show the group home provider has been visited by inspectors at least five times in the last three years. Inspectors cited the group home for violations four times.

Among the issues, gaps in a worker's CPR and first aid certifications, not providing enough detail in critical incident reports, and storing food and poisonous materials in the same locked cabinet.

The state says all violations were addressed.