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Columbus Organizations Work To Resolve Discrimination Complaints

Franklin County Children's Services investigates 12,000 child abuse or neglect complaints each year. But, in some cases, the abuse and neglect investigations prompt additional allegations of civil rights abuses. So, Children's Services is now working with the Columbus chapter of the N-double-A-C-P to resolve those disputes.

The Head of Children's Services, Eric Fenner, says the majority of abuse and neglect complaints received at the agency are unfounded.

Fenner says a disproportionate number of the complaints involve African-American children and that has drawn the attention and in some cases, close scrutiny, by the Columbus Chapter of the N-Double-A-C-P. Chapter president, Noelle Williams, says when a discrimination complaint is filed against Children's Services the NAACP intervenes on the part of the family.

Williams says there is no set guideline to handle discrimination complaints. Fenner says while his agency is working to find reasons behind the disproportionate number of complaints involving black children, he thinks, the community suffers from a misperception that FCCS is patrolling neighborhoods looking for instances of child abuse or neglect.

Fenner says of all children removed from their home, 87% of them are re-united with their families, 75% of them are re-united within one year. Fenner and Williams both say that a new program is helping to reduce the number of complaints.

Tom Borgerding WOSU News