Dozens of missing person reports filed from a youth treatment facility in East Cleveland are raising questions about safety and security.
Over the weekend, 15 missing person reports were filed with East Cleveland Police by the Carrington Youth Academy on Noble Road.
The director of Carrington told News 5 that all of the teens, some of which ran away twice in the same weekend, are now accounted for and safe.
The facility is “staff-secure,” which means it is not locked down like a detention center.
Instead, staff attempts to intervene when a teen tries to leave, but they are not allowed to physically restrain them. It is privately-owned but licensed by the state. Carrington is required to file a missing person report immediately after juvenile leaves their care.
Juveniles are sent to Carrington through two main routes — the Juvenile Court and child protection agencies from all over the state of Ohio.
In 2017, Carrington served 800 juveniles.
That same year, East Cleveland Police report 96 cases in which juveniles were reported as runaways from the facility.
So far in 2018, police said they have had 18 missing person reports filed from the facility.
Seven of those teens were from Juvenile Court, which contracts with several residential facilities in Northeast Ohio.
Bridget Gibbons is the deputy director of programming for the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court and said it is always a concern when a child goes AWOL.
“Of course we’re concerned about that, but we also know this is part of the symptoms of some of the kids that we serve,” Gibbons said. “A lot of them have been involved with a lot of trauma, a lot of behavioral issues, mental health issues.”
"Daily, we stress the consequences of poor choices and the dangers of leaving our care—for the vast majority of our clients (those who engage the program and move on quickly to a step-down program or foster family), the advice resonates. However, for those select youth who depart our care, we work extensively with all stakeholders to find them and return them to care with our agency or at the direction of their legal guardian," Carrington said.
Below is the full statement from Carrington sent to News 5.