Complaints against Children Services Pt 1

Franklin County Children’s Services provides care for more than 72-hundred children in Central Ohio. The agency is required to investigate all referrals of children who are alleged to be abused, neglected or dependent. While referrals have increased during the last several years, critics of the agency say in too many cases families are being split.

Alan Williams of Seymour Avenue in Columbus has a list of complaints against Franklin County Children’s Services.

Williams is treasurer of a group called “Children Services Corruption Political Action Committee.” The group lead an unsuccessful effort to defeat a recent ballot issue for Children’s Services and he says he himself has been investigated by the agency. Williams says much of the basis for his fight against Children’s Services stems from actions taken by the agency when parents lack adequate financial resources. Abuse, Neglect and Dependency are the criteria weighed by caseworkers in determining whether children should be removed from a home. But, Williams says the dependency charge is too often cited in temporary custody cases

Williams says too many parents face allegations of dependency. Franklin County Children’s services Director John Saros also notes the increase in cases at Children’s Services during the last several years. But he denies the agency is being too aggressive. Saros says his agency is buffeted by both economic forces that are putting more stress on families.

Saros says 80 percent of cases in the last several years result in children being re-united with their families. But, Willliams says some of the remaining 20 percent of cases are problematic. When children are removed from a home on a dependency charge Williams says the legal process is often daunting for parents.

Attorney John Vogle,a member of “Families Against Childre’s Services Corruption” says poor families in juvenile court mostly lack adequate legal representation. The group says it wants more independent social workers, paid by someone other than children’s services, to be made available in disputed cases.