Report cites errors by Black Hills Children's Home in early Serenity search

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV)- A report from two government agencies details errors made by the Black Hills Children's Home, from the moment nine-year-old Serenity Dennard ran away on a bitter cold day in February.

The report indicates the Home's initial response to her disappearance was disorganized, and staffers waited too long to call 911.

The State Department of Health and Department of Social Services each reviewed the home's response after Serenity walked away on February 3 from the home's Rockerville campus.

The agencies presented the home with a corrective action plan including a directive to implement a new policy that in the event a child runs off ...staffers should call 911 immediately and the plan must clearly identify who is responsible for calling 911.

Bill Colson, the executive director of the home's parent organization, The Children's Home Society, said Tuesday night that the policies have already been updated, and that he has ordered quote "more intensive training for our staff."

In the government report, Black Hills Children's Home Program Director Tim Fitzgerald is quoted as saying "Complacency amongst the staff was an issue, kids had run in the past, staff had found them. They thought this time would have been the same".

In addition, the review by the two agencies, noted the staff of the Children's Home was operating on three different radio frequencies on the day Serenity disappeared, which did not allow everyone to hear the same thing at the same time.

Tuesday night Colson said, "We recognize the need to get better. We are always working to get better."

The Children's Home now sets all of its radios to a single frequency according to Colson. Serenity Dennard remains missing , as the search for the 9 -year-old enters its third month.