YOUNGSTOWN Officials probe teen-ager's death
A Lincoln Place administrator said residents and staff are struggling to deal with the death.
By JoANNE VIVIANO
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- State and Cuyahoga County officials are investigating the death of a Cleveland teen-ager who was killed trying to cross Interstate 680 after running away from Lincoln Place residential facility.
Kenneth Goodwin, 17, was placed in the East Indianola Avenue center by the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services because officials there felt he needed in-patient treatment for substance-abuse issues, said Jim McCafferty, interim director of the Cuyahoga department.
Treatment facilities in Cleveland had no room for Goodwin when he was placed at the South Side facility in December.
About the facility: Lincoln Place is a residential facility for youths and children who have been referred there by juvenile courts and children services boards. Such facilities are licensed by the state Department of Jobs and Family Services and must follow federal guidelines that require them to be unsecured.
Doors are not locked and windows cannot be barred. As such, patients are able to walk away.
Goodwin had a history of running away from treatment facilities, McCafferty said.
Dennis Evans, a spokesman for the Department of Job and Family Services, said state licensing agents will inspect Lincoln Place to determine if any regulations were violated.
A fatality review will be conducted by the state department with representatives of Mahoning and Cuyahoga counties.
In reports: Police reports show that Goodwin and another Cleveland teen-ager ran away from Lincoln Place, leaving through a window at about 9 p.m. Wednesday. Goodwin was hit by two vehicles on the freeway about 40 minutes later.
"It's been absolutely horrible for the staff and kids," said Lincoln Place Administrator Dallas Lough. "We've never had anything like this happen and I pray to God it never ever happens again."
Patients have received counseling from staff this week. Staff will get counseling from Catholic Charities next week.
Goodwin was a smart boy who had turned his life around and recently earned his GED, Lough said. Staff were helping him find a job and had placed 17 applications in the community
He would have been released from Lincoln Place when he turned 18 in September.