Charges likely against teen who helped others runaway from Child - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Charges likely against teen who helped others runaway from Children Services

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Warren police say charges will likely be filed against a 15-year-old girl who is accused of helping several others run away from Children Services. 

According to a police report, several teenagers ran away on Monday from a Trumbull County Children Services residential home on Reeves Road.

Officials say one of the girls who ran away returned to the group home the same night and pulled a fire alarm. 

Police say the fire alarm unlocked the doors, allowing three other teens to escape. 

Several of the teens, ranging from 14 to 17, have returned. 

A police report says it is likely that the teen will be charged with inducing panic for pulling the fire alarm. 

Tim Schaffner, the Executive Director of Trumbull County Children Services, said that the nature of residential homes are that runaways can become common. 

"We are one of the few counties that continue to operate residential treatment.  There are many advantages to this including keeping youth closer to their families and community teams resulting in shorter lengths of stay in out of home care.," said Schaffner. "The disadvantage is that youth remain in close proximity to some negative influences.  Runaways are more common, unfortunately, when youth are placed closer to home.  Youth who run away chronically are placed further away from these negative influences."

Schaffner said the holidays are the most frequent time for issues with runaways. 

"There can be a contagion effect where one or two youth with referent power among the group can prompt others to act out in certain ways.  This can occur quickly when new members of the group are introduced," explained Schaffner. "When we have a mix of youth that results in contagious negative behavior we have several options for interventions.  One of which is to separate some individuals programmatically or by seeking alternate placements."

Schaffner also explained that Children Services works closely with the juvenile courts, and when appropriate there can be legal consequences for runaway behavior. 

Schaffner said, "We do not house youth on our campus when we have any reason to believe they will be a danger to the community.  We are not a locked treatment setting."

According to Schaffner, oftentimes the length of stay in residential treatment is extended by a lack of foster homes that will accept teenagers.  

Anyone interested in fostering or fostering teenagers to call Trumbull County Children Services for information.
 

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