WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Police said a group of kids ran away from Trumbull County Children Services’ residential home on Reeves Road NE on Monday.
Staff at the facility told police that one of the children pulled a fire alarm, which unlocked the doors. Employees reported that an unknown number of children ran away, but some of them returned within minutes.
Eight children remained missing on Monday night, but five have since returned, according to Children Services.
The three who are still missing have been entered into the Warren Police Department’s system as runaways.
Tim Schaffner, the executive director of Trumbull County Children Services, said Trumbull County is one of the few counties with residential treatment centers. While the advantage is that children are kept close to their families and communities, they can also remain in close proximity to negative influences.
“Runaways are more common, unfortunately, when youth are placed closer to home,” he said.
He adds that the holidays are difficult for children in care, and Children Services typically sees a spike in runaways around that time.
Schaffner said they look for alternative placement options for those who routinely exhibit “negative behavior.”
“We work closely with our juvenile courts in matters such as this. When appropriate, there can be legal consequences for runaway behavior,” he 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.”
Length of stay is determined by whether foster homes are available, he added.