Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center Struggles with Staffing Crisis During Pandemic

It was as early as April 2020 that COVID-19 began affecting employees at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center.

On April 2, 2020, The Plain Dealer reported that a Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center officer and a juvenile court employee were ordered to quarantine due to concerns related to the Coronavirus.

The Plain Dealer reported:

“The memo said healthcare providers ordered both to quarantine based on their symptoms. Neither tested positive for COVID-19 so far, but the memo said employees would be updated if their status changes. The memo does not say whether or not the employees have been tested.

“The memo written by the court human resources director Sandy Spiker said the Ohio Department of Health advised court officials that no other court employees need to quarantine unless they are showing symptoms of COVID-19.”

In early 2020, court officials issued an order stating that the juvenile detention center would stop housing any juvenile charged with only misdemeanor crimes, The Plain Dealer reported.

A staffing crisis worsened by administration’s refusal to negotiate

That was early in the pandemic. Now, COVID-19 outbreaks among staff have spiraled out of control, exacerbating a staffing crisis at the center.

A lack of adequate staff has led to widespread lockdowns at the center, which have fueled outbreaks of violence. A small riot broke out last August, causing at least $19,000 in damages.

The center has had staffing shortages due to COVID-19, but the fact that the administration refuses to meet with its workers’ union and resume negotiations doesn’t help. Low pay and a lack of adequate training have made it difficult to hire the staff needed to keep young residents safe.

It’s unacceptable. In the midst of a pandemic, the center needs well-trained staff in sufficient numbers to ensure the safety of its residents.

Sign the petition found at the bottom of our homepage. Tell the Court that union representation is the proper course of action, along with better staffing and employee training to keep our children safe.