DCS removes girls from troubled facilities - WSMV News 4

DCS removes girls from troubled facilities

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Since 2011, 60 teens ran away from Magnolia Academy in Columbia. Since 2011, 60 teens ran away from Magnolia Academy in Columbia.

The state will no longer send girls in Department of Children’s Services custody to Magnolia Academy’s facilities.

Channel 4 has reported on chronic runaways at one facility and overflowing sewage at another.

Now, DCS officials say no more.

“Awesome. That’s the only thing that I can say is awesome. I’m glad,” said Talena Troop, a former Magnolia Academy employee. “There were lots of things that I knew they were doing that they weren’t doing right.”

Dozens of escapes have plagued Magnolia Academy’s house in Columbia.

In August, two teenage girls stole the company’s van and remained at large for months, despite posting their whereabouts on social media.

Employees complained that they had no authority to stop teen runaways and said some employees frequently bent the rules.

“Allowing the kids to be on their cell phone, on the staff cell phones, on porn sites and Facebook,” Troop said.

Last month, Channel 4 reported sanitation problems at Magnolia Academy’s house in Lewisburg. Some girls were reportedly going to the bathroom in the woods because of an unrepaired sewage backup.

A DCS worker noted a “really noxious odor” during a visit in early October, but Magnolia Academy’s management refused to talk to Channel 4 about it.

Last Friday, DCS removed all the girls from the Lewisburg house. The house in Columbia was already closed. The girls will be split up and sent to other DCS facilities.

“I’m glad that they closed,” Troop said.

A DCS spokesperson said this is not just a suspension or a notice of corrective action.

Magnolia Academy’s parent company, ResCare, still has a state contract and will continue to house teen boys.

Magnolia Academy staffers told Channel 4 they only had two days’ notice that they were being laid off. As many as a dozen employees lost their jobs.

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