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The Black Hills Children's Home near Rockerville.
courtesy of Google Earth
The Black Hills Children's Home near Rockerville.

Report points out errors made by children's home in young girls disappearance


News Staff - April 10, 2019

ROCKERVILLE, S.D. - A report out this week from two government agencies details errors made by the Black Hills Children's Home on how it handled the situation when 9-year-old Serenity Dennard ran away on February 3.

The report indicates the Home's initial response to her disappearance was disorganized, and staffers waited too long to call 9-1-1.

The State Department of Health and Department of Social Services each reviewed the home's response after Serenity darted away from the home's Rockerville campus.

The agencies presented the home with a corrective action plan including a 'directive to implement a new policy that in the event a child runs off, staffers should call 9-1-1 immediately and the plan must clearly identify who is responsible for calling.'

Bill Colson, the executive director of the The Children's Home Society, has told area media that the policies have already been updated, and that he has ordered "more intensive training for our staff."

In the government report Colson is quoted as saying "Complacency amongst the staff was an issue, kids had run in the past, staff had found them. They thought this time would have been the same."

In addition, the review by the two agencies, noted the staff of the Children's Home was operating on three different radio frequencies on the day Serenity disappeared, which did not allow everyone to hear the same thing at the same time.



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