CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has found no immediate changes are coming to a Cuyahoga County office building where we’ve seen teens going wild, despite a passionate call for help by social workers.
This week, two workers went before county council begging for help and demanding someone do something.
The I-Team has exposed some of the county’s most troubled kids staying at the headquarters for child welfare workers.
The kids are, generally, teens that juvenile court won’t hold. The county struggles to find foster homes for them.
So, they stay in a living area set up in a section of the office building. Sometimes they are there for hours. Workers say, other times, kids can be there for days and even longer.
Video obtained by the I-Team has shown kids fighting, attacking workers, crashing a car into the building.
Workers say the kids cause other trouble, too, and they often just leave the building to run the streets.
Marilyn Henderson told County Council,
“We’ve had it up to ‘here’ living in fear. ‘Cause no one is doing anything right now. I’m frustrated. I’m angry. The Administration leaves at 4:30 and don’t look back. But, we’re stuck there.”
The head of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services issued a statement. Matt Damschroder said he’s “disturbed and concerned.”
His statement also said, in part, “We have immediately reached out to see what resources and assistance we can offer. We have also activated our Rapid Response team to evaluate and provide any support needed.”
But, we also found no quick fix. Nothing changing there, right now.
Cuyahoga County also released a statement to the I-Team.
Spokesperson Mary Louise Madigan said, “We cannot turn our back on a child – it’s our mandate to investigate abuse, neglect and dependency and to make sure children are in a safe environment. There are times it is difficult to immediately find a bed that meets a child’s needs, so they may be in our building for hours until we find a foster home, therapeutic placement, a court order or reunification. “
The workers speaking out say, at times, they can’t answer a hotline to take reports of abuse and neglect because teens in their office building are going wild.
The I-Team will be following up to find out more about why more can’t be done immediately about the problem.