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Group Homes to Evaluate Children After Murder Allegations
COLUMBUS (Lisa Rantala/Kate Liebers) Franklin County Children Services is planning to reassess the behaviors of the children in its care, after one of them was accused of murdering a stranger in a park.
Sixteen-year-old Jordan Stewart was arrested and charged in the murder of 55-year-old Jane Juergen, who was stabbed 26 times while jogging through a park not far from Stewart's group home.
The agency now wants to reassess the behaviors of all 130 of its kids living at group homes and review qualifications of the group home staff.
Officials said the actions of which Stewart is accused were not ones the group home foresaw. Instead, the staff said the teens behaviors seemed to have been improving.
Stewart's grandmother handed him over to the county group home two years ago, saying that she could not control him.
Since then, the home had eased his care restrictions because he had a job, was doing laundry, and staying in school, said Deborrha Armstrong of Children Services.
I'm not going to say he fell through the cracks, Armstrong said. We're looking at his case to see if there's something we can learn from the situation or something that was maybe missed.
Stewart had met with his children service case worker Sept. 5, a month and a half before the fatal stabbing.
No date has yet been set for the review.
The agency said it sympathizes with Juergens family.
We know words alone cannot alleviate pain they're feeling right now, Armstrong said.