(CALDWELL, Ohio) – Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) have filed a complaint against the Ohio Wilderness Boys Camp in Summerfield for operating a long-term residential facility for children without a state license. The complaint asks that the facility cease operations until proper certification is obtained.
"The state requires licensure for such facilities in order to ensure the safety of the children living there," said Attorney General DeWine. "Some of these children have been there more than two years. And as far as we know, they aren't attending school or getting the education they are required to, and need, for their ages."
"In order to provide a safe and healthy living environment for the children in their care, it is vital that residential facilities follow the appropriate state rules and regulations," said ODJFS Director Michael Colbert.
A report was made by the camp director to Noble County JFS about a "brief sexual contact by minors" between two OWBC residents during a supervised field trip. ODJFS made an unannounced visit to the camp in May following receipt of the report from Noble County JFS. Investigators found at least nine children, ages 9 to 15, who said they have been at the facility between three months and two or more years.
Residential facilities for children with stays exceeding two consecutive weeks are required to be licensed by ODJFS.
The Ohio Wilderness Boys Camp is "a long term commitment program for boys 9-15 experiencing emotional trouble," according to its website. The program consists of nine sessions per year, with each session lasting about six weeks. There is a break between each session in which residents return home for less than a week. Families can visit the camp every 90 days.
Dan Tierney -- 614-466-3840
Mark Moretti -- 614-466-3840