Summit DD, like each County Board in Ohio, is responsible for ensuring the health and safety of those we serve. Occasionally, there are circumstances that can pose a threat to the health, safety or well being of child with a developmental disability; we refer to these incidents as Major Unusual Incidents (MUI).
In MUI circumstances involving children, Summit DD has dedicated staff to handle any allegations. Our staff, along with Summit County Children Services (SCCS), look into each situation to determine what happened (investigation), what caused the event (cause and contributing factors), and then work with families to put preventive measures in place to avoid future risk in similar circumstances (prevention plan).
What is an MUI?
An MUI, or Major Unusual Incident, is any alleged, suspected or actual incident that negatively affects the health, safety or welfare of an individual with a disability supported by Summit DD. These incidents can include allegations of abuse, neglect, theft and other potentially serious incidents, as outlined by Ohio Administrative Code.
What happens during an MUI investigation?
Based on the information provided, cases that meet the MUI criteria (as outlined by the state MUI rule) will be opened. The case is then assigned to a member of our MUI department called an Investigative Agent (IA), and SCCS is notified.
If the information provided meets criteria established by Ohio Revised Code for Children Services, SCCS will open an investigative case called an Intake. When an Intake is opened by SCCS, they become the lead organization in the investigation and Summit DD will assist as needed.
If a case is not opened by SCCS, a Summit DD IA will begin an administrative investigation on behalf of Summit DD. Our IA will interview those involved, or who may have witnessed the alleged incident, to gather facts as well as review any relevant documentation. The goal of an investigation is to determine if there is evidence to suggest the allegation occurred, find out causes or contributing factors, and then work with your family and your child’s team to develop a voluntary prevention plan.
Regardless of which agency conducts the administrative investigation, it’s important to remember that the MUI process is not meant as punishment. The investigations are simply an objective way to determine if a child’s safety or welfare is at risk, and then present measures that can help prevent harm in the future.
Can you take my child away from me?
Summit DD does not have the authority to remove a child from a home. However, both Summit DD and SCCS work closely with local law enforcement. If evidence found during an MUI investigation suggests that a crime was committed, the case will be referred to local law enforcement to investigate.
If Children Services doesn’t open a case, will Summit DD still need to do an administrative investigation?
Yes. Both agencies have strict guidelines outlined by the state. While both organizations are here to protect a child’s health and welfare, their criteria for opening investigations is different. Therefore, it is possible for Summit DD to conduct an administrative investigation even if the allegations do not meet SCCS criteria for an Intake.
Who can report an MUI?
Family, friends, providers or any community member can report a concern. Summit DD has dedicated phone numbers during and after business hours to report incidents.
The MUI email and phone numbers are not meant to handle real-time emergencies or life-threatening situations. Should you see that a person is in a life-threatening situation, please call 911 immediately. MUI contact information is meant to alert Summit DD staff about a concern so they can look into allegations.
If you think a person’s health or welfare may be at risk, please contact the MUI Department Intake at 330-634-8684.