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Reports critical of children’s home in reacting to runaway

ROCKERVILLE, S.D. (AP) – Reports from two regulatory agencies are critical of how staff at the Black Hill’s Children’s Home responded after a young girl fled from the facility, a runaway who remains missing and is feared dead.

The government reports say the Children’s Home staff should have called 911 immediately after 9-year-old Serenity Dennard disappeared Feb. 3, instead of waiting an hour and 41 minutes.

The Rapid City Journal obtained the reports by the state Department of Social Services and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Much of the facility’s funding comes from Medicaid.

The reports say the home doesn’t have a sufficient emergency preparedness plan and initially conducted a disorganized search for Dennard.

Authorities say the girl was not dressed for the frigid weather when she disappeared and that it’s unlikely she survived if she was outside.

AP-WF-04-10-19 1227GMT

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