Florida children’s home pauses taking ‘at-risk’ kids after runaways get in shootout with deputies

Florida

(WESH)

DELTONA, Fla. (AP/WESH) — A Florida children’s home that two children ran away from before engaging deputies in a gun battle this week will stop accepting “at-risk” children.

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood says the 14-year-old girl and 12-year-old boy left the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home on Tuesday. He says they broke into a house, found weapons and ammunition, and began firing on deputies. Deputies finally returned fire and wounded the girl.

Chitwood had strong words for Florida’s juvenile justice system.

Officials at the home on Wednesday say they don’t have the capabilities of taking care of at-risk children.

“This situation is tragic, and is the result of the system failing our children. These children are in desperate need of care in the appropriate setting, which is a higher level of care than we provide,” the president of the home, Kitwana McTyre said. “We will be placing a moratorium on our campus Emergency Shelter Care program for the next 30 days and then will cease to provide that service until … if … we feel that we can do so in a safe manner.”

Officials with the home say there are currently only three children in Emergency Shelter Care and they will look for alternative placement for them.

The Florida United Methodist Children’s Home is an independent nonprofit that was established over 100 years ago and is a ministry of the Florida United Methodist Church.

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