Mom seeks answers after daughter runs away from state facility

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A mom is demanding answers after her 14-year-old daughter ran away from a residential treatment center two weeks ago.

Iyonna Burrell said her daughter, A'Kiera, 14, has a history of running away and that's why she lost custody of her. But after A'Kiera successfully ran away from the Crittenton Children's Center in Kansas City, Mo., Burrell said the state has failed to to its job.

"She was in state custody because the state took her from me because of her runaway risks and said that they could protect her better than I could," Burrell said.

Burrell said her daughter ran away from Crittenton on Nov. 26 with another girl and Burrell wasn't notified until the following day.

"Crittendon failed to let me know until November 27th, 10 o'clock in the morning, which happened to be an hour before our family therapy meeting, and I do believe if we wouldn't have had that family therapy that wouldn't have told me at all," Burrell said.

State Representative Brandon Ellington said he's having trouble getting answers too.

"As far as disappearing from a state facility, it raises all kinds of questions when we talk about supervision and what is actually happening at these types of facilities," Ellington said.

Crittetton is operated by the St. Luke's Health System. In a statement they said in part:

Anytime a child is missing it is a concern for everyone in the community; and we certainly understand this mother`s worry for her daughter.  All of us are hoping for her safe return.

As a behavioral health facility for minors, we are prohibited by law from confirming or refuting the participation of any patient in our program, so we cannot comment directly on this situation.  

What we can say, however, is the safety and security of every child in our facility is our number one priority.

Burrell said staff at Crittenton have not told her anything about her daughter's escape and claim they have no footage of her daughter leaving despite numerous signs stating "all activities are monitored by video camera."

"It's supposed to be a secure, locked facility," Burrell said. "It's supposed to be a complete lockdown."

But Burrell says it's information about her daughter that seems to be on lockdown.

"They just told me they don't have video footage, no paperwork, no nothing," she said. "It's like my daughter don't exist."

Kansas City police said A'Kiera is in a national database for missing and endangered children. Officers have checked a few addresses but have had no luck locating the missing girl.

Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816.474.TIPS.




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  • 3teddybearz

    My daughter is in State’s custody in Missouri & she has run away from residential care facilities MANY times. The NEVER call me when this happens. I never know she’s gone, I never know she’s safe until DAYS later…up to 3 days later! I hope she’s found safe because my daughter was hitch hiking to KC to “deal meth” for someone she was emailing… I thought she was suppose to be kept safe??

  • laura m

    my niece was at crittenton too and also ran away and came to my house and she was sitting on floor and she had so many lice and they were huge they obviously werent taking care of the kids i never saw so many lice as she had thank god i got custody of her after that that place should be shut down

  • Laura

    I used to work at Longview College Library. Once a runaway from Crittenton came in with her friends and then her mom came and found her and tried to get her to go back and eventually the police had to come and take her back. Obviously, this facility does nothing to keep their wards from leaving.

  • john jay

    Half of u don’t know what they do at Crittenton. They have a policy that they go by when kids run. And lice is one of the first things they check for when a kid gets there. The staff don’t want to take it home with them. Question. Is Crittento a state facility or is it privetly run by St. Lukes.

    • Laura

      This place is privately owned and operated, it is not state run. It has a contract with the state to provide treatment. The part of the story not mentioned in this newscast is that for a child to be in state custody, a judge has determined that the child is not safe at home for any number of reasons. This mother isn’t getting any information because she lost her legal right to that information when the judge put the child in state custody. If this newscast is asking why the child got away from Crittenton, it should also be asking the why the child was running away from home in the first place. Crittenton homes are known specialists in the treatment of trauma. What was the condition of her home environment? Violence? Drugs? Rape? Other illegal activity? Yes, of course this is tragic and yes it should be investigated. There was obviously a failure in the security somewhere, but they failed to mention how many kids remain safely in that facility on a daily basis. Please tell the whole story.

      • MS.PENN

        It doesn’t matter at this point what was going on in her home, the point is that she is missing and need’s to be found safe and out of harms way. There is so much danger out here for adults let alone children. It is the sick adults out there who will take ADVANTAGE of her.

      • 3teddybearz

        My daughter is adopted. She was adopted at age 7. She was placed in state’s custody because she had been running away from home LONG before I ever got her, Her first “documented” run was at 5 years of age, before I ever even met her, I could not keep her safe from herself. She self harms & runs & is bulimic, anorexic has trichotillomania (pulls out all her hair), attempts suicide, does drugs & alcohol, is ADHD, RAD & was sexually abused at her foster homes before I got her. She was placed in state’s custody because I could not be awake & keep her safe 24/7. And to those who say we aren’t doing a good job at being parents…. live a day in our shoes.

      • karen

        The question is not about why the child ran away from home the question is how did she leave and where is A’KIERA?

      • Iyonna Burrell

        I’m glad you talking on a situation that you THINK you know so well for someone who don’t know me!! But however, everyone is entitled to there own opinion!! Crinniton needs to hold responsibility for my daughter and the other young lady that came up missing from there!! And I feel as if they need to ad me in looking for her!! Now I gotta question since you have all the answers are you willing to go out here in these Kansas City Streets and help me look for her?? If your not then your comment ( yours and Joe’s ) means as much as a 3 dollar bill to me… NOTHING!!!

  • Bokeem

    Crittenton is a treatment facility, not a jail or detention. This facility treats children from all over the world and is one of the best facilities in the country. Kids do earn higher levels where they can go out on passes,outings and to outside school. Outside to play or go on walks. This child evidently was on an higher level were she wasn’t on lock down. She had earned a level of trust from her hard work in TREATMENT. Sometimes kids make mistakes and have impulsivety problems. The process of teaching and treatment goes hand and hand with sometimes backsliding. But you have to give them chances. Not just lock them up and throw away the key. But the real issue is the child ran away and WE need to find her before something bad happens. Lets not point fingers at the facility or the mother. Lets put our energy in getting her back to wherever safely.

  • London

    I the real world joe some mothers actually do what they can to make sure children are raised right. And fortunately I can be a witness to that because as a child I ran away not because my mother raised me wrong but because I wanted to hang out with all the other teens that got to enjoy hanging out. I wanted to do the things I wanted and I could not at home because my mother would not allow it. Fortunately I was safe and became a responsible young adult who knows that then my mother was only trying to protect me from the dangers of society. And as result what she did teach me at home followed me needless to say. Now I am in college have a great life and a family with children that are honor roll at such a young age and as well I talk to them about my past and explain to them why I do so that they steer clear of the path I choose. Bashing mothers about what they have not done is wrong because you do not know them…… And that’s like me assuming you probably started smoking cigarettes at the age of twelve… And if it were true your mother would be hurt to hear that she was a poor mother because she could keep your dirty little fingers off of a cigarette…. May God forgive you… And may he find closure for the mothers and protect them and their children from this negative society…

  • MRS C

    My child was there 2 yrs ago. She was helped a lot–she tried suicide and they helped her talk about her feelings and problems. She has done better since. All children are checked for lice when they go there.