West Liberty foster care facility to close after abuse allegations
UPDATE: February 6
Adriel Foster Care, which was under investigation by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, has decided to close rather than fight to stay open.
ODJFS filed a complaint to have its license revoked in late January after it was learned that staff had physically abused and neglected children.
The board voted to close its doors Friday. It's last day of operations will be February 17.
The agency houses 31 children.
Investigators from the Ohio's Department of Jobs and Family Services licensure board have requested Adriel Foster of West Libery be shut down, after an investigation found that staff had neglected or abused children in their care.
The allegations date back as far as January 2016. The state found there was "substantiated physical abuse." That "staff broke a child's wrist" and "staff did not seek medical attention."
Investigators said they found a video that shows staff "crushing pills using a dollar bill," then a "child snorting the crushed pills on the recreation room table." The report also found staff "inflicted scratch marks down the back of child" and that one staff member was seen "showing videos on his cell phone of staff having sex with each other."
"I felt like I mattered when I was at Adriel even though some unfair things happened to me," said Nautica Carter.
Carter said she was a foster care child at the West Liberty campus from 2005-2006. A self-proclaimed hell-raiser as a child, she said the stories of sexual abuse and neglect that are now coming to light are not new to her.
"I know that it happened because I witnessed it," she said.
Claims she said, involve children being physically abused and staff engaging in sex acts with others.
"Adriel has had a lot of horrible people, but for every horrible person there was a person who gave a crap about those kids," said Carter.
Todd Hanes runs Adriel's West Libery Campus. He said he was hired 18 months ago to make immediate changes.
"Our defense is not that (the state's report) isn't accurate, our defenses is that we have corrected those issues," he said.
He said staff were fired, training improved and children are better for it.
"We put in safeguards that these things will never happen again," he said.
The allegations inside this report have already taken its toll at Adriel. The county has already started to remove children from the facility and place them in others, meaning as more kids leave, the chances the place will remain open is slim.
He said if Adriel closes, it will make foster care in Ohio that much worse.
"If we choose to get out of this work there is one more hole in Ohio," said Hanes.
As for Carter, she thinks Adriel's days should be numbered.
"They deserve to be shut down," she said.
Adriel's President has 30 days to request a hearing with the state to prevent its license from being revoked. The foster care agency said it plans do that.