CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) — The Fox 8 I-Team has uncovered what’s being done about chaos in a county office building caused by teens going wild.
They’ve learned of new action aimed at putting an end to what’s happening inside the Cuyahoga County headquarters for child welfare workers.
Last year, the I-Team exposed the problem.
And, now, as they learn of the first steps toward stopping it, the parent of one teen there is speaking out.
For nearly two years, the I-Team has revealed scenes such as teens fighting inside the Jane Edna Hunter building.
We’ve also seen a teen crashing into the building while driving a stolen car.
And, in one case, video showed a teen viciously attacking a social worker.
Now, they’ve found a new push beginning to end the madness.
One mother contacted Fox 8, saying her 13-year-old daughter spent time there, and she ended up in a video clip obtained by the I-Team.
That mother said, “I just thought it was out of control…to see your child involved in such heinous activity, it’s mind-boggling.”
Some of the county’s most troubled teens stay in that building while waiting for foster homes. Sometimes, they only wait for hours. Sometimes, for days. And, sometimes, for much longer.
Jacqueline Fletcher, director for the Department of Children and Family Services, sat down with the I-Team.
She said the county has started looking to hire an outside agency or company to take care of the kids in the situation that has them spending time in that office building.
“How can we fix some of this for these kids that need emergency child care services,” said Fletcher. “What would that look like?”
She added, “So, we are looking at every option.”
New action has come to light after social workers went before county leaders demanding to see something done.
Marilyn Henderson made an emotional plea, saying, in part, “We’re angry! We’re frustrated!”
We’ve learned the kids in that office building often come and go when they want; running the streets. Some of them are even suspected by investigators of getting involved in crime.
The mother of the 13-year-old the I-Team spoke to added, “She was able to leave at will. Start dealing with some bad people that was from that building. And, they were getting themselves involved with stolen vehicles.”
An internal memo shows kids picked up by police tied to crimes with guns also recently ended up in that building instead of the juvenile detention center.
The county now has a sheriff’s deputy stationed at that building round-the-clock to try to help keep things calm.
Fletcher just took over the agency there, but she’s already promising change.
“We could be doing more, and we’re gonna do that,” she said.
The I-Team has also reported a state agency recently started looking into this, as well. The county hopes to get state money to help pay for new plans to end the teens causing havoc in the office building.