Group says system failed Michelle Knight and her son - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Group says system failed Michelle Knight and her son

It's become a very familiar sound and scene in front of the Jane Edna Hunter Social Service Agency on Euclid Avenue - people protesting the treatment of children.

About a dozen people marched on Tuesday morning, led by Mariah Crenshaw, a frequent advocate on a variety of topics including foreclosures, Childrens Services and Executive Ed FitzGerald. An agency spokesperson believes the group is capitalizing on the Castro case, jumping on the band wagon.

"I know how funky this system is and I know exactly what goes on inside the Department of Children and Family Services," said Crenshaw. "It may be self promotion, it may be self promotion because I've been a victim of this bureaucratic system."

Her gripe is her belief that she was unjustly removed as a foster parent after she complained social workers weren't doing their jobs. On Michelle Knight, she says the agency also failed.

"The agency could have made referrals to get her and her child away from an abusive boyfriend," Crenshaw added.

Instead the child was taken from her, and she disappeared. Family Services says Ohio law bars release of Knight's records.

"Nobody else is concerned about these kids out here," said advocate Mary Keith.

The group is registered with the Ohio Secretary of State despite the county claim it was not.  Others have their own gripes with how they have been treated.

"My child actually lives with a convicted felon who has guns in the home," said parent Joe Jones.

There is no doubt that there is an opportunistic element to all of this.  Whether that is self promotion or simply using a high profile event to draw attention to a serious problem.  You'll have to judge.

Copyright 2013 WOIO. All rights reserved.

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