- Associated Press - Monday, May 1, 2017

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A troubled Tulsa group home for abused and neglected children is preparing to close.

Mark Jackson, who owns the Realation Group Home, notified the Oklahoma Department of Human Services on Friday that it plans to terminate its contract and close June 30, the Tulsa World reported (https://bit.ly/2p142cB ).

“Given the current situation, it’s with a heavy heart that we just feel it is in our best interest to terminate our contract at this time,” Jackson said, paraphrasing from a letter he sent to the department.

The department stopped placing children at the facility while it investigated the death of 11-year-old Chase Dakota Bridges, who ran away from the facility and was fatally struck by a vehicle in December. Another 11-year-old, Christopher Seaton, died in traffic after fleeing the group home in April 2013.

The home routinely informs police about runaways, and many of the reports deal with children who make multiple attempts to leave the facility. Police records show that officers made 158 service calls to the facility in 2016, 115 calls in 2015 and 119 calls in 2014.

Oklahoma Department of Human Services spokeswoman Sheree Powell said the home currently houses more than 20 children, including seven set to be reunited with their families. Most of the children are ages 10 to 14.

The department’s primary goal in placing youth in such group homes is to help them cope with and control emotional issues, behavioral disorders or other problems through counselling and treatment, Powell said.

Jackson said the Realation home has more than 30 employees.


Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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