Volusia County

Calls to children’s home 2 left before firing at deputies include missing persons, battery calls

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — According to Sheriff Mike Chitwood, Florida United Methodist Children’s Home “has been a problem.”

This week, he rallied against the group home after he said two children ran away from there, broke into a house and got into a shootout with deputies.

“We got to take a step back,” Chitwood said. “What we’re doing is not working.”

READ: ‘So full of hate’: Bodycam, aerial footage shows dramatic shootout after 2 children open fire on Volusia County deputies

He said this could have been avoided, and the two children should not have been able to take off from there. But it wasn’t necessarily a shock given the group home’s history.

In 2020, the sheriff’s department was there 289 times for calls of service.

Then in 2021, they were there 89 times.

READ: Girl, 14, boy, 12, charged with attempted murder after getting into shootout with Volusia deputies

Channel 9′s Alexa Lorenzo went through all 378 of those calls.

A majority of those calls are for missing persons, Baker Act transports and fire alarms, followed by a handful of abuse, assault and battery calls.

Less than a month ago, Chitwood said, an employee lost her life when a 15-year-old with violent behavior and violent tendencies hit a man in the head twice. The teen has since pled to manslaughter.

READ: Sheriff: Boy, girl used AK-47, shotgun in shootout with deputies

The Florida United Methodist Children’s Home said in a statement, “The level of children who are being sent to us through the emergency shelter care at times is beyond the scope of our capabilities.”

The group home has now placed a moratorium on its emergency shelter care program for the next 30 days.

The group home said the children are “in desperate need of care in the appropriate setting, which is a higher level of care than we can provide.”

READ: Immediate changes coming to children’s home where 2 left before firing at deputies

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