COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Each year, more than two million children are reported as runaways. Typically, the younger the child, the more potential for danger exists.
Recently, Better call Jackson received a call from a woman whose nephew walked away from a mental health agency. She feels there are too many opportunities for delinquent teens to work the system.
To say Deidre Grantonic is frustrated would be an understatement. She has custody of her 17-year-old nephew, Anthony, who has behavioral issues.
A few months ago, Anthony ran away from the Village Network, a mental health facility aiming to improve and transform the lives of at-risk youth.
The US Marshals conducted a raid on a residence on Bruck Street two weeks ago. Anthony was in the home at the time, although not part of the raid.
That’s when he allegedly deceived authorities and was not released into the custody of his aunt, but rather, someone else he knows.
“And then somebody signed him out, forged my signature, they released him,” Grantonic said. “But it should also be that somebody working with a delinquent teen should know better than to take a delinquent teen out and then trust their words.”
When asked about the safety and security of is clients, Tim Homan, vice president of advancement for the Village Network says, “The procedures and rules are set by the department of jobs and family services, and we work diligently to remain compliant. The safety of the youth in our care is always our top priority.”
Homan goes on to say, “We work hard to connect kids with their families if they appear at our location without a parent/guardian.”
That doesn’t mean much to this woman who fears for her nephew’s health and welfare. Before he was found over the weekend, Grantonic suspected her nephew was going to try and leave the state.
Grantonic says her nephew is now back in juvenile detention. Through the whole process, she stayed proactive, staying in touch with local authorities and even calling the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.