Articles on DEATHS of children in the System

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Postby Marina » Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:00 am

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Boy who died at Omaha hospital had traumatic head injury

By The Associated Press
Saturday, Sep 29, 2007 - 03:21:56 pm CDT

OMAHA — Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine says a 1-year-old boy who died at an Omaha hospital earlier this week had a traumatic head injury.

Davion Winrow had been in foster care since birth and had cocaine in his system when he was born.

Kleine says Davion’s death is under investigation. He says charges have not been filed, but could include child abuse and accidental death. Police say Davion was taken to the hospital on Thursday by the person who was caring for him at the time. Police and state Health and Human Services officials won’t say who that person is.

A Health and Human Services spokeswoman won’t say whether the agency is investigating the death.


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Postby Marina » Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:17 pm

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Man arrested for abuse leading to death wanted to adopt child

By The Associated Press
Friday, Oct 05, 2007 - 11:39:39 am CDT

OMAHA — The Douglas County Attorney says a 23-year-old Omaha man charged in the death of a 1-year-old in his care wanted to adopt the child.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine is questioning why Joleet Poole was allowed to pursue adoption.

Authorities have said Davion Winrow’s death on September 27th was due to a traumatic head injury. He died after his caretaker took him to the Nebraska Medical Center. Kleine says he wants to know why Davion was staying with Poole, because Poole has a violent past.

Juvenile court records show that Poole stabbed a child when he was 8 years old.

A Health and Human Services spokeswoman says the state performs background checks but does not usually check juvenile court records.


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Postby Marina » Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:20 pm

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Bereaved mother attacks welfare workers

October 06, 2007 05:51pm

THE distraught mother of a two-year-old boy who died after he was allegedly bashed by his father has accused child safety workers of ignoring her pleas for help.

The toddler from Margate, north of Brisbane, died in the Royal Brisbane Hospital on September 25 after suffering massive head injuries.

His 34-year-old father has been charged with manslaughter and torture and has been remanded in custody ahead of his next court appearance on November 27.

The little boy had been in and out of foster care before being returned to his family in October last year.

The boy's tearful mother, who was not named, said her pleas for help to the Department of Child Safety just four weeks ago had been ignored.

"They didn't do anything, they didn't phone me back, they didn't come out, there was no more contact," the 33-year-old told the Nine Network today.

"Joshie would be here today, Joshie would be with me today."

The mother, who buried her child last Wednesday, said the department's case workers were too young and inexperienced to deal with her case.

"The Department of Child Safety change their case workers like they change their friggin' underpants," she said.

"The person who is working with you doesn't know the situation, it is just another case to them."

The Queensland Government, which has admitted some of its child safety officers were young and lacking in "life experience", has ordered an independent review of the case.

Results of the review will be publicly released.

The state opposition has also called on the Crime and Misconduct Commission to investigate.


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Postby Marina » Thu Oct 25, 2007 8:08 pm


Police looking into child's death

Last Updated 5:16 am PDT Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Story appeared in METRO section, Page B2

SACRAMENTO – Police are investigating the death of a 1-year-old foster child who was found unresponsive Monday morning.

Officers arrived at a home in the 7500 block of Muirfield Way about 6:20 a.m. after firefighters reported a non-responsive infant, Sgt. Matt Young said.

"One of the (foster) parents went in to check on the baby and the baby was not breathing," Young said.

The infant was pronounced dead at an area hospital, Young said. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

Homicide detectives continue to investigate the case, which is typical when an infant dies unexpectedly, Young said.

"We see a few of these cases a year, and any time that you have a child this young unexpectedly pass away, it's something we take very, very seriously," he said.

No arrests have been made, but Young said there are "factors present that could be suspicious."

The licensed foster parent and day-care provider at the address where the baby died had no complaints on her record, according to Sacramento County Child Protective Services spokeswoman Laurie Slothower. Day-care officials inspected the home in August 2006.


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Postby Marina » Sun Oct 28, 2007 10:29 am

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MILLVILLE: Report: Deaths of McCarter children "preventable"
From staff reports

MILLVILLE -- The 2006 slayings of two children and their mother could have been prevented by the Division of Youth and Family Services, according to the results of an investigation.
Scott McCarter Sr. killed 12-year-old Scotty McCarter, 6-year-old Melanie McCarter and their mother, Wendy McCarter on May 25, 2006 before killing himself.

McCarter was on trial for child molestation charges when the slayings took place at a home on Nabb Avenue.

A subsequent investigation by the state Office of the Child Advocate concluded the children's "tragic deaths were possibly preventable."

The report cites "numerous missed opportunities for DYFS and the courts to offer this family protection, services and intervention."


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Postby Marina » Sun Oct 28, 2007 11:17 am

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Wed, October 24, 2007

Foster child dies after being found unconscious

UPDATED: 2007-10-24 18:26:50 MST


Cops and social services are investigating after what’s being called the accidental death of a 16-month-old boy in foster care.

Calgary Police Service spokesman Chris Downey said cops were notified after paramedics went to the Hamptons home at 2 p.m. Wednesday to treat a boy who wasn’t breathing.

EMS spokesman Paul Lapointe said the child was in cardiac arrest when paramedics arrived.

Along with a police escort, an ambulance rushed the boy to Alberta Children’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

The initial police investigation indicated he was found not breathing in the basement of the home by his foster mother.

A neighbour told the Sun several foster children live at the residence.

Investigators came in and out of the house throughout the day, while a van from the chief medical examiner’s office pulled up in front just before 4 p.m.

A man in a black SUV pulled up around 4:30 p.m. and was briefed by an investigator.

He afterwards said his 41-year-old aunt lives at the residence and is a caregiver to four children ranging in age from one to seven years old.

"This is a shock seeing all these cars," said the man, who said his name was Martin and added he had been visiting since Friday from Surrey, B.C.

"The only thing (cops) could tell me is one of the kids is sick and in hospital."

He added he was told by police he would have to stay at a hotel while they continued their investigation at the home.


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Postby Marina » Sun Oct 28, 2007 11:54 am

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Short lives and missed chances

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Office of the Child Advocate released a report critiquing the child welfare system's involvement with three children before they were murdered last year. A look at key findings:Scott McCarter, 12, and Melanie McCarter, 6, of Millville:

Shot and killed by their father, Scott McCarter Sr., on May 25, 2006.

Parents disregarded agreement that father would live elsewhere and have supervised visits.

DYFS missed numerous home visits.

DYFS never subjected father (indicted for sexual abuse) to psychological evaluation.Sean Farrish, 25 days, of Brooklawn:

Stabbed by father's former girlfriend on Nov. 18, 2006.

DYFS failed to evaluate safety of father's home.

Father declined help from DYFS.

Father disclosed girlfriend had abused drugs and battered him.


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Postby Marina » Sun Oct 28, 2007 11:58 am

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DYFS: 4 children didn't have to die

Agency says it missed red flags

Thursday, October 25, 2007
Star-Ledger Staff

Amanda Bennett pleaded with the local child welfare office to protect her little step-sister. The young girl's father, on trial for sexual abuse, had moved home without permission. Two days later, he killed 6-year-old Melanie McCarter, her 12-year-old brother, Scott, and their mother.

Bennett's warning was not the only red flag the Division of Youth and Family Services missed, state Child Advocate E. Susan Hodgson said yesterday in a report that concluded the agency's mistakes contributed to the deaths and those of two other children in 2006.

"These cases revealed serious failures by workers and supervisors to perform very basic, accepted social work that, when done properly, can help keep children safe," Hodgson said.

The report focuses on the lives and deaths of the McCarter children of Millville, whose father shot and killed them and their mother May 25, 2006, before turning the gun on himself; and Sean Farrish, 25 days old, who was stabbed and thrown down a flight of stairs by his father's ex-girlfriend in Brooklawn on Nov. 18. Both families had open cases with DYFS.

The loss of any child known to the child welfare system is something "we grieve deeply," said Mary Helen Cervantes, spokeswoman for Kevin Ryan, commissioner of DYFS' parent agency, the Department of Children and Families. "We are committed to doing everything humanly possible to strengthen this system for the tens of thousands of children who rely on us every day."

Hodgson acknowledged the department "has made significant strides since these tragic deaths occurred, including reducing caseloads and increasing the number of (foster) families," but said the report is still relevant. "Through our own daily monitoring of the child welfare system, we know that many of the problems and issues that existed when these children died, still persist today," she said.

The findings highlight continuing problems in the state's child welfare system despite a court-ordered reform program that began in 2004 and has cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Recent reports by federal monitors have praised the effort but said there is much yet to be done. The latest assessment, released Monday, said the system still "does not consistently function well."

The McCarter family case is one example "replete with missed opportunities to effectively assess the needs of the individual family members and risk to the children," the Child Advocate said.

At the time of the May 25, 2006, murders, Scott McCarter was on trial in Cumberland County for molesting his teenage step-daughter in 2004. After his arrest, Amanda Bennett moved in with her maternal grandparents; DYFS told McCarter to move out of the family's Millville home -- an order he and his wife, Wendy, disregarded.

The agency never performed a required "safety assessment" when McCarter started spending more time at the home, according to the report. McCarter never took a routine psychological exam. DYFS failed to keep biweekly visits with the family in the six months prior to the murders, even after McCarter's trial began in mid-May.


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Postby Marina » Sun Oct 28, 2007 12:03 pm


Anguish, outrage follow the death of a foster child

By Christina Jewett - [email protected]
Last Updated 12:14 am PDT Friday, October 26, 2007

The death of a toddler and arrest of her foster mother on suspicion of child abuse and homicide left two families grappling for answers Thursday.

The aunt and grandmother of Tamaihia Lynae Moore, 17 months, mourned the loss of a little girl who loved to give kisses.

They also posed indignant questions over their attempts to urge a Child Protective Services social worker to take the child to the hospital Saturday after she appeared bruised and disoriented.

The request was not fulfilled, the CPS director said Thursday.

"Saturday she didn't know who she was," the child's aunt Patrice Moore said. "We just don't know what happened."

Two miles away, the accused woman's parents sorted through Tamekca Walker's immaculate home and day care center in disbelief, insisting that their daughter would never harm a child.

Walker's living room is a rainbow-toned array of children's toys and educational posters, with her day care inspection sheets and licensing documents neatly tacked on a bulletin board.

"Sometimes you have to wonder, where is God?" said her father, Willie Walker, sighing in disbelief.

Sacramento police went to Tamekca Walker's home Monday at 6:20 a.m. after Fire Department paramedics transported Tamaihia Moore, who had been unresponsive, to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead later that morning.

Police interviewed Walker several times, her parents said. Police arrested her Wednesday night on suspicion of homicide and assault resulting in the death of a child under 8 years old.

Sacramento police spokesman Sgt. Matt Young said the investigation produced evidence of abuse and neglect.

"We're confident that the child's death was a result of criminal conduct," Young said.

However, Assistant Coroner Ed Smith said his office has not determined if the death was a homicide or how it occurred.

Walker's two other foster children were placed in protective custody by CPS workers Monday and her day care business was shut down, police said.

Patrice Moore said CPS workers removed Tamaihia from her mother at birth after testing positive for cocaine exposure.

The baby was in a foster home for six months, then with her aunt and then with her father, Calvin Moore, until he was arrested about a month ago. Then Tamaihia was placed in Walker's care, Patrice Moore said.

Cathy Walker, the defendant's mother, said social workers brought the baby to her daughter's south Sacramento home with only the clothes she was wearing and cream for a diaper rash. Cathy Walker said her daughter sought medical information about the child, but got none.

CPS officials said foster parents are paid a base rate of $425 each month to care for an infant.

Cathy Walker said Tamaihia cried often and pitched tantrums.

Willie Walker said the child had hit her head about a week ago while playing with children.

Cathy Walker said her daughter asked a social worker on Oct. 17 to place the child elsewhere. However, the social worker urged Tamekca Walker, 34, to keep the child, her mother said.

"I just wish that Tamekca was a little stronger about doing stuff like that," Willie Walker said.

CPS director Laura Coulthard, who could not confirm the request to move the child had been made, replied generally. She said social workers assess such requests and either take steps to remove the child or provide struggling foster parents with more support services.

Meanwhile, Patrice Moore, the child's aunt, said she was petitioning the child dependency court to gain custody of the child. She said a judge ordered that CPS expedite turning the child over to her late in September.

"I didn't hear anything," she said, saying she'd hoped to hear from CPS to arrange for an inspection of her home. She said her criminal background check was completed and clean.

While the process apparently lagged, Moore said she was growing concerned about Tamaihia. She visited that baby Oct. 7 and noticed that she had lost weight.

She saw Tamaihia again Saturday during a formal visit at the home of Debra Oliver, the baby's grandmother, and was outraged. Tamaihia was wearing a skirt that was too big for her, held up with a rubber band. She seemed dehydrated and had healing scratches on her back, Moore said.

The usually alert and engaging baby was remote, Moore said.

"She didn't know her name," Moore said. "It took five minutes to get her to smile."

At one point, the child's eyes didn't move in the same direction at the same time.

Moore said she and Oliver begged the social worker who came to return Tamaihia to her foster mother to take the child to the hospital.

"(We) pleaded with her," Moore said.

Coulthard confirmed that the family relayed concerns to the social worker, who did not take the child to get medical care.

On Monday, Moore said she went to CPS offices and arranged for a social worker to inspect her home Oct. 30. She did not know at the time that Tamaihia had already died.

Coulthard, the CPS director, said there was no record of any complaints against Walker for her day care or foster care.

Officials are combing through the details of the case to see if there are lessons they can glean, Coulthard said.

"When we lose a child, we take that personally, we take that as an opportunity to renew and look and see if there was anything we could do differently," she said.


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Postby Marina » Sun Oct 28, 2007 12:58 pm

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Posted on Thu, Oct. 25, 2007

N.J. agency faulted in '06 slaying of infant

By Jennifer Moroz

Inquirer Trenton Bureau

TRENTON - New Jersey's child-welfare system failed to protect a 25-day-old Camden County boy who died last year after he was stabbed and thrown down a set of stairs, according to a report released yesterday by the state Office of the Child Advocate.

Child Advocate Dr. Susan Hodgson concluded that more diligent work by the Division of Youth and Family Services might have prevented the death of Sean Farrish, who had been under the state's watch since his October 2006 birth.

Most notably, Hodgson wrote, social workers allowed Sean, who was born to a drug-addicted mother, to be released from a local hospital into the care of Edward Colvin - the man presumed, but not verified, to be his father - without thoroughly assessing the living conditions and circumstances at the Brooklawn home.

According to the report, Colvin let his ex-girlfriend, Gloria Carter, stay with him and the baby despite her alleged drug abuse and a restraining order he held against her. Carter, 35, allegedly stabbed the baby in the stomach, effectively eviscerating him, then threw him down the stairs amid a tussle with Colvin. She has been charged in Sean's death and is awaiting trial.

"Had attention to detail and process been greater, and had [the system] followed best practices for casework and been more diligent in the handling of this medically high-risk infant, the caseworker could have discovered information that would have required this case be handled differently," Hodgson wrote. "It is the opinion of the Office of the Child Advocate that Sean's untimely death can be partially attributed to [the] failure to fully investigate the appropriateness of Sean's release from the hospital to [Colvin's] care."

The report was one of three released this year by the Office of the Child Advocate examining the deaths of the four children who died while under DYFS watch in 2006.

Another report released yesterday, which also accuses the child-welfare system of failures, details the shooting deaths of 12-year-old Scott McCarter and his 6-year-old sister, Melanie, in Millville, Cumberland County. In that case, which Hodgson deemed "possibly preventable," the children's father, who at the time was on trial for sexual abuse of another child, killed Scott and Melanie and their mother before turning the gun on himself.

Hodgson's office released its report on the fourth child - 21-month-old Xavier Jones of Essex County - earlier this year. The little boy died after ingesting methadone he found in his foster home.

DYFS officials said they were doing everything they could to address problems identified in the reports.

"Whenever a child dies, we grieve that loss deeply, and we are committed to doing everything humanly possible to strengthen this system for the tens of thousands of children who rely on us everyday," said a written statement issued by Mary Helen Cervantes, a spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Families, which oversees DYFS.

The reports come as DYFS - which has been dogged in recent years by horrific, high-profile cases of the death and abuse of children under its watch - is undergoing a multimillion-dollar, court-monitored overhaul.

Children's Rights Inc., a Manhattan-based child advocacy organization, forced the overhaul when it sued the child-welfare agency in 1999, saying it was systematically failing to protect the children under its care.

In 2005, the group dragged the state back to court, claiming the reform effort had stalled and officials were continuing to put children at risk.

The state averted the threat of a federal court takeover after placing well-respected former state Child Advocate Kevin Ryan in charge of rebuilding the ailing agency.

Ryan, now Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, has since added hundreds of new caseworkers and revamped agency procedures in an attempt to correct the system.

A federal monitoring report released this week indicated the reform effort is on track - but that the agency still "does not consistently function well" and has a lot more work to do to achieve lasting change.

Tiffany Ellis, a spokeswoman for the Child Advocate, said she did not believe the child death reports released yesterday were necessarily a reflection on the way DYFS operates today.

"In 2006, when these deaths occurred, the reform had yet to take hold," she said. "In the next year, we're hoping to see some of the effects of child-welfare reform take place."

Her office, she added, "will be watching" to make sure the mistakes made in cases such as Sean Farrish's weren't repeated.

According to the report on his death, Sean was born to a drug-addicted mother with cocaine in his system. Despite questions about who his father was, social workers placed the infant with Colvin after visiting his home and noting no major problems.

The report notes that Sean's case records show no evidence that social workers had received the results of Colvin's background check before they released the baby to him.

DYFS workers also apparently did not know that Carter was spending time at Colvin's home, because although they spoke to him by phone, the report said, they did not visit after Sean arrived there a week after his birth.

According to the report, Colvin later told police that he allowed Carter into the home because he was worried about her, and tried to get her mental help.

On the morning of Nov. 18, 2006, according to the report, Colvin woke up to the sound of Sean crying and when he went to investigate, he found the baby stabbed, and Carter standing over him.

Colvin tried to escape with the infant, the report said, but had to put him down in an ensuing struggle, at which point Carter picked up the baby and tossed him down the stairs.

After neighbors intervened, Sean was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support. He died at 5:47 a.m. the next day.


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Postby Marina » Tue Oct 30, 2007 6:29 am


5-month old boy dies in care of mentally ill mom

Associated Press - October 27, 2007 10:15 PM ET

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A child welfare worker left a 5-month-old boy alone with his mentally ill mother in Milwaukee and within a half hour of the worker leaving the boy had died.

Now the police are investigating the case as a homicide.

The death comes after a state report was released last month that accompanied a plan to beef up programs to keep children at risk of abuse or neglect safe, after a review of more than 600 active Milwaukee child welfare cases.

The review was ordered in May after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on two children dying after child welfare workers were warned of the dangers of leaving them in the homes.

In the latest case, police said the 29-year-old mother lost custody of the boy because her illness interfered with caring for the child.

The baby was placed in foster care, but the woman's niece was granted custody and the mother granted visitation rights.

Police did not know if the visits were to be supervised.


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Postby Marina » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:07 pm

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At trial, there's no mention of death
Day care director could get jail, fine

October 31, 2007



The director of the Childtime Learning Center appeared to accept the explanation from 2-year-old Allison Newman's foster mother that the scratches and bruises on the child's body were from a fight she had with another toddler, a former employee of the child care center testified Tuesday.

Jacqueline Hadwin of Westland, the director of Childtime, didn't report the injuries to the Michigan Child Protective Services agency in July 2006.

On Sept. 22, 2006, Allison died of injuries police say were caused by her foster mother, Carol Ann Poole, in their Canton home.

Poole is charged with felony murder, involuntary manslaughter and first-degree child abuse.

Hadwin is on trial in 35th District Court in Plymouth on a misdemeanor charge of failing to report suspected child abuse. If convicted, she could be sentenced to up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.

On Tuesday, the second day of the trial, it was a delicate dance for Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Lora Weingarden, defense attorneys Todd Flood and Gerald Evelyn, and witnesses to obey Judge Ronald Lowe's order not to say anything before the jury about Allison's death on the chance that it could prejudice the case.

At one point, Flood asked for a mistrial during testimony from Melissa Gunn, a former employee, when she questioned as to why she was upset Hadwin did not take her suspicions of child abuse seriously.

"Why were you upset?" Weingarden asked.

Gunn said, "I felt events could have been stopped had it been reported."

In his cross-examination of two former employees, Evelyn asked why the women didn't do more if they thought Allison was being abused and why nothing was documented at the time.

Why didn't they tell the assistant director or the girl's father, Alan Poole, of the suspected child abuse, he asked.

"I thought I did what I could do," said former teacher Cheryl Majeske.


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Postby Marina » Thu Nov 08, 2007 1:05 pm

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Foster care death trial under way
‘I just want justice served’ says Dontel’s aunt

By Jessica Fargen
Wednesday, November 7, 2007 -

More than two years after the city was shocked by the heartless killing of Dorchester toddler Dontel Jeffers, the foster mother accused of causing his excrutiating death went on trial yesterday, as the boy’s family pleaded for justice.

Attorneys gave opening arguments yesterday in the second-degree murder trial of Corinne Stephen, the 26-year-old foster mom who had taken care of 4-year-old Dontel for just 10 days when she brought his bruised, beaten and limp body to a hospital.

“I just want justice to be served,” said Althea Jeffers, Dontel’s aunt, at Suffolk Superior Court yesterday.

Assistant District Attorney David Deakin told jurors Stephen was protecting her “self-interests” when she failed to act on Dontel’s injuries, including a black eye, bruises and marks on his wrists indicating he had been tied up. He died from a blow to his stomach that caused a lethal infection.

“Those injuries tell the story of what happened to Dontel Jeffers,” he said. “She allowed him to suffer through them. A series of deliberate and conscious choices by the defendant resulted . . . in his death.”

Dontel died March 6, 2005, 10 days after he left Bridge Home, a temporary group home for kids. Yesterday, Bridge Home clinicians who took care of Dontel testified that he was healthy, energetic, active and “a really cute little guy” when he left their care.

Ephlyn Simms, the home’s nurse practitioner, said she treated Dontel for ringworm, a bruised hand and a bump on his forehead in December 2004, but characterized the injuries as typical for his age.

John F. Palmer, Stephen’s attorney, pressed those witnesses for any indication that Dontel was wild and injury-prone.

In his opening remarks, Palmer said Stephen “emphatically denied” responsibility for the death.

Stephen, who has a 5-year-old son, had taken care of several foster kids before a foster care agency allowed her to take in Dontel, he said.

She was arrested for Dontel’s murder in August 2005 and posted $100,000 bail just four months ago.

“She went through a rigorous screening to get that job,” he said. “They found her to be a skillful, careful foster care parent.”

- [email protected]


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Postby Marina » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:10 pm

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Foster Mom Found Guilty In Boy's Death

Dontel Jeffers Died In Stephen's Care In 2005

POSTED: 12:23 pm EST November 16, 2007
UPDATED: 6:14 pm EST November 16, 2007

BOSTON -- A Dorchester foster mother has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 4-year-old boy in her care.

After two and a half days of deliberations, a Suffolk Superior Court jury found that Corrine Stephen, 26, was responsible for injuries that led to the death of 4-year-old Dontel Jeffers in March 2005. Officials said that the boy was beaten in the stomach so hard that his organs were perforated, which led to a fatal infection.

Stephen, the mother of a 5-year-old, was charged with second-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison, but the jury found her guilty of a lesser charge. Stephen could still get up to 20 years in prison.

"Not the how the family wanted it, you know. My aunt is really sad about it because she thought she would have a longer sentence," said Dontel's uncle, Vincent James.

Stephen's attorney said he is disappointed by the jury's decision, saying his client did not harm the child.

"The issue was whether or not the failure to provide medical care under the circumstances was criminal, as opposed to negligence. And, that is a jury decision," defense attorney John Palmer.

"I would not say she caused the death, but she could have been a little more responsive to the needs of what happened. If she claimed he had an accident, she should have at least sought medical help in a timely matter," said Stephen's father, Steven.

Steven Stephen also extended condolences to the entire Jeffers family.

Jeffers died 10 days after he moved in with Stephen. The Massachusetts Department of Social Services placed Dontel with the Dorchester woman.

Officials said that she repeatedly abused the boy by tying him up and assaulting him, but Stephen claimed that the boy hurt himself while jumping on a bed.

Stephen will be sentenced during the first week of December.


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Postby Marina » Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:28 pm

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Child Dies in Foster Care; Mother Speaks Out

Reported by: Ilyssa Trussel
Email: [email protected]
Last Update: 11/18 11:57 pm

Mother of five Phyllis Wilson fights back tears.
She says a representative from Daniel, a child services organization, showed up at her door this weekend telling her the worst of news that her 3 year old, Brittany Hampton, drowned in a bathtub at a foster home.

"They came to tell me so I just fell out on the floor and just started crying," she said.

Back in September you may remember seeing Wilson's picture on cbs47 news.
She was arrested for child neglect.
Police said she left her children alone at home.
At the time, the children were taken away.
Family members believed the kids were in safe hands but now this.
A spokesperson for the Department of Children and Families says it is aware of the situation.

"This is a tragedy that leaves all of us devastated. We are grieving over the death of this child."

Family members of little Brittany say the child was supposed to be in protective custody but wasn't protected at all.

"They murdered my grandchild and whoever did it is going to jail. They came and got her and now she's going somewhere," said Brittany's grandma Shirley Wilson.

According to the family, Brittany was living at a home with foster parents and other foster children. They say was just placed in the home about two weeks ago.
Wilson says her little girl was found in the tub with another child sitting on top of her.
She says Brittany was rushed to Baptist Hospital where she later died.
The family is planning a memorial service for Brittany in a couple of weeks.


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Postby Marina » Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:34 pm

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Teen dies after being ‘disciplined’

BY ROBERT MOORE, Tribune Staff Writer

Foster father has not been charged in Saturday death

When the Department of Children’s Services assigned Jordan Shelton to a foster home headed by Hamblen County resident Ken Taylor, the goal — as always — was to place the teen where he could flourish.

An alleged altercation that reportedly began after Taylor, a former bodybuilder, caught Shelton smoking early Saturday morning brought the DCS placement to a horrible end.

Shelton, 16, is dead. Taylor, 53, has not been charged, but officials are weighing their options.

"This is a tragedy that could have been avoided," Hamblen County Sheriff Esco Jarnagin said Saturday afternoon. "We will discuss all the options with the district attorney’s office because they will be the ones prosecuting the case, if the facts warrant."

Jarnagin says a key factor in the district attorney’s decision about which, if any, charges to file against Taylor could be an autopsy, which is scheduled to be conducted Monday at a Knoxville hospital.

Jarnagin says the teen was "unresponsive" when paramedics arrived at their Pinewood Circle residence Saturday morning. The sheriff declined to comment publicly on the nature of the teen’s injuries.

Shelton never regained consciousness. Staff at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville removed life support shortly before noon Saturday.

Another foster child who was living in Taylor’s home has been removed to an undisclosed placement. Shelton’s biological mother, who lives in Cocke County, could not be reached for comment Saturday evening.

Taylor, former owner of the Nautilus gym on West Andrew Johnson Highway, found Shelton smoking outside their home around midnight, according to Jarnagin.

Taylor then ordered the teen to his bedroom. At some point, Shelton left the bedroom to retrieve his portable CD player. That’s when the physical part of the altercation began, according to the sheriff.

"(Taylor) was disciplining him, but apparently the discipline was too extreme," Jarnagin said.

Detective Lt. Mike Hayes and Detective Sgt. Frankie Lane, with help from Scottie Ferguson, a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agent, are leading the criminal inquiry.

The sheriff says he contacted the TBI because DCS, another state agency, was ultimately responsible for placing Shelton in Taylor’s home.

Rob Johnson, a DCS spokesman, said Saturday evening that the DCS Special Investigations Unit is cooperating with law enforcement officials.

"It’s very, very tragic," said Johnson, who added that Taylor has been a DCS foster parent for approximately 12 years. "It’s very sad... Right now, it’s too early to tell what happened."

Technically, Johnson said, Shelton was placed in Taylor’s home through Omni Visions, a private firm that handles DCS placements in Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky.

The DCS spokesman says Taylor and all other foster parents undergo an "extensive" background check, and are obliged to complete agency-approved training.

"My understanding is that they were veteran, very experienced foster parents," said Johnson, who added DCS foster parents get daily compensation for housing foster children.

Johnson said Saturday evening he did not know the reason why Shelton was placed in state custody and subsequently in foster care.


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Postby Marina » Thu Nov 29, 2007 7:49 pm

. ... /711290467

November 29, 2007

Brizzi: Police weren't told of abuse

Prosecutor asks why law agencies weren't notified of 2006 injuries

Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi wants to know why the state Department of Child Services did not notify police after a caseworker determined TaJanay Bailey was physically abused in 2006.

A hospital emergency room visit documented bruises on the toddler's body after a May 2006 visit with her mother, Charity Bailey, and Bailey's boyfriend, Lawrence Green.
Bailey and Green now face charges of murder and neglect in the death of the 3-year-old Tuesday.
Investigators said Wednesday that her death was the result of systematic abuse TaJanay had been exposed to that bordered on torture. Police said the most recent abuse that led to her death occurred over several days after TaJanay -- who had spent much of her life in foster care -- was returned to her mother and Green for a 30-day trial reunification.
DCS spokeswoman Susan Tielking would not respond directly to whether caseworkers had notified police after TaJanay's 2006 hospital visit. Because of the sheer volume of cases in the county, Tielking said, it is possible that the information on some cases may not make it to law enforcement.

James W. Payne, director of the state Department of Child Services, said Wednesday that he is prohibited by law from talking about specifics of the case, including whether police were notified.
But he pledged an aggressive review of the way TaJanay's case was handled to determine whether the agency or its workers did anything wrong, and what could be done to prevent similar tragedies.
"We have taken what I believe in our system are extraordinary efforts to look into the allegations of this death and specifically look into our file," Payne said. "We have a team going through that file to look at all the issues . . . so we can make a very informed analysis" of what happened.
At this point, he said, nothing indicates a system breakdown or individual misconduct contributing to the death. He said the review will take about two weeks.
"These tragic events will, unfortunately, occur," he said. "We know we can't protect and prevent everything."
A Marion County coroner's report released Wednesday listed the cause of death as "multiple blunt-force injuries to head, neck, trunk and extremities," with internal bleeding on the surface of the brain.
Police say Bailey and Green abused TaJanay over the past two weeks, including hanging her on a coat hook by her T-shirt, beating her with a belt and knocking her in the chest for wetting her pants. While hanging from the hook, the girl's shirt left marks under her arms and on the back of her neck, said a probable cause affidavit that Brizzi filed Wednesday..
Previous abuse reported

Court records show TaJanay's foster parent, Janice Springfield, took the girl to Wishard Memorial Hospital's emergency room on May 24, 2006, to be treated for injuries after a visit the girl had with her mother and Green. A DCS investigation determined the injuries were the result of abuse.
One of the neglect charges filed Wednesday against Green, 20, and Bailey, 20, stems from that incident -- but those charges came too late to help the little girl who loved Dora the Explorer, singing and bouncing on her foster parents' trampoline.
Brizzi said his office had not been able to find a police report resulting from the 2006 hospital visit. The injuries should have prompted a police investigation because even the doctor noted physical abuse, he said.
Brizzi also echoed other questions that have surfaced about the state's handling of the case.
"Someone from the government . . . went in and said it was OK for her to return to the home," he said. "I'm not sure where the blame lies, but we have a dead 3-year-old little girl."
Brizzi said he intended to seek life sentences without the possibility of parole for Bailey and Green.
Request for open records

More details about how the case was handled could become available Friday after Marion County juvenile court Judge Marilyn Moores considers a request to open confidential juvenile court records in the case.
Payne said DCS will not oppose opening those records for inspection.
"We will support opening the file because we believe that is best for the community and best for us," he said. "If (the media are) not criticizing and looking after us, we may have the tendency not to do those things and move in the direction that is best for children. We think we are, but it's always good to have a second eye and a second ear on that."
While he declined to talk about specifics, Payne said caseworkers assigned to a child who has been placed in the state's care have the primary responsibility for managing cases. That includes recommending services and evaluating progress made by parents with things such as anger counseling and parenting skills and determining where a child should be placed.
Payne declined to identify the worker who was in charge of TaJanay's case or provide information on that worker's current status.
Caseworkers in Marion County have an average of about 25 cases, down from 60 or more a couple of years ago, Payne said.
A foster parent who now has custody of Bailey and Green's 6-month-old son, Lawrence Green Jr., said she blames the system for the tragedy. She had custody of the baby and TaJanay for about two months while DCS began the reunification process with Bailey.
"Everyone wants to hang the caseworker and the supervisor, but the bottom line is these two snowed everybody over," said the woman, who asked that her name not be used. "These people did everything they were supposed to do. They did all the training; they took the classes. They had to give them back."
The reunification began with short, supervised visits, then grew to include overnight and weekend stays with the couple before the 30-day trail reunification. The foster mother said she last saw TaJanay -- whom she described as the sweetest and happiest child she ever knew -- on the day before Thanksgiving.
"She wasn't the same child then," she said. "She just looked so sad, but I attributed that to her being scared that she was going to be moved again."
The foster mother said TaJanay's caseworker told her she opposed the reunification, but "she told me her supervisor said we're going to do it."
"The system is not about feelings and love and kids and what's best for them. There's not enough personal input. Foster parents can't go into the court and say, 'I feel this way or that way.' It's all about the paperwork, all about legalities, all about doing all the steps," she said.
Springfield, another foster parent who cared for TaJanay, said she also feels the system failed the child.
Girl was "systematically tortured"

Brizzi said the abuse was among the worst he'd seen in a criminal case, and he planned to try the case himself. He said prosecutors could use the victim's age and the use of torture as statutory aggravators when they press for a life sentence.
"(TaJanay) was systematically tortured over the week of Thanksgiving by her mother's fiance and by the mother," Brizzi said during a news conference. "We believe both of the defendants actively participated in the abuse."
Before dawn Tuesday, police were called to the Phoenix Apartments on Indianapolis' Northeastside. TaJanay was dead when they arrived, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Wednesday in Marion Superior Court.
Green and Bailey have given statements to police. Green described several instances in which he and Bailey harmed the girl, the affidavit says. It also says Bailey assigned much of the blame to Green and told police at the start that Green "is lying."
About 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Bailey woke TaJanay and saw she "had boo-booed and peed herself," Bailey told police. She said she took the girl to the bathroom to clean her off, the affidavit says, and Green then began "whipping TaJanay with his black leather belt."
In his statement, Green told police he did hit the girl, but Bailey was already screaming at her and striking her, too. Bailey hit the girl in the head with her knee, knocking TaJanay's head against the wall, Green told police.
Police called to investigate TaJanay's death were appalled at the condition of the apartment, in the 4100 block of Edgemere Court.
In March, Bailey filed a police report from her grandmother's home alleging a domestic dispute with Green a day earlier while she was pregnant. They had argued over Green's suspicion that she had cheated on him, she told police, and he slapped, choked and threatened her. There is no record of an arrest, and no charges resulted.
Bailey is pregnant again, and Brizzi said he may ask a judge for an order that the child be turned over to state custody upon birth.
Bailey appeared to have led a troubled life as a teen. She lived with her grandmother and ran away from home several times, beginning at age 14, according to police reports.
One report, filed when TaJanay was 3 months old, said Bailey was on juvenile probation at the time. Another said she had spent time in the state-run Indiana Girls School.

Call Star reporter Tim Evans at (317) 444-6204.


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Postby Marina » Sat Dec 01, 2007 5:52 am

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JSO Investigates Death of Foster Child

By Jackelyn Barnard
First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, FL-- Two weeks after a three year old foster child drowns in her foster home, police are still investigating what exactly happened.

Brittany Hampton, 3, was placed in the foster home after she was allegedly left home alone by her real mom.

According to the police report, Brittany's death is undetermined. "Poor judgement, yes. Malice or intent, no," says Rob Davis, the attorney for foster mom Qiana Holmes.

Holmes is under scrutiny for Brittany's care. "There have been several false reports. One was she was watching tv, wasn't in the same room. It's inaccurate," says Davis.

Holmes, he says, was at the house with Brittany on the afternoon of November 17th. Brittany's brother and Holmes' two children were also there.

Davis says Brittany and her brother were getting a bath after lunch when Holmes got sick and had to leave the room. "She was gone between three to five minutes tops and that's when she found the other child in the bathtub dead. She started cpr and she called the police."

DCF has removed Holmes' two biological children from the home, which the department says was done for the safety of the children while an investigation is underway. "She absolutely understands. She doesn't understand why she can't speak to her kids or have visitation," says Davis.

Holmes and her attorney are trying to get kids back, calling Brittany's death a tragic accident. "Only mistake made, didn't pull(her) out."

Davis says he's gotten confirmation that Holmes will not be arrested in the case. JSO told First Coast News the case is still active and open.

DCF could not comment about the case. The department does say it is still waiting to hear from JSO on what happened to Brittany.

The child's family declined to talk with First Coast News saying their attorney has told them not to comment at this time.


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Postby Marina » Sat Dec 01, 2007 6:08 am

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Lawyer Representing Foster Care Mom Speaks Out

Reported by: Amy Tortolani
Email: [email protected]
Last Update: 11/29 6:59 pm

Brittnay Hampton JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A 3-year-old girl drowned in a bathtub in the care of her foster mother and now, the lawyer representing the mother speaks out about his client.

Robert Davis describes how his client Qiana Holmes is doing after a toddler died in her care. Davis said that Holmes, a foster mother, was caring for her two children, 3-year-old Brittnay and her sibling when the foster children needed a bath.

Holmes told investigators while the kids were bathing she needed to use the restroom.

Davis said the mom did not feel comfortable dropping her pants in front of the children, so she went to her personal bathroom.

When Holmes returned three to five minutes later, Brittnay had drowned.

"With the exception of poor judgment leaving the child in the tub, she did everything right. These not being her children, you are not going to drop your pants in front of them," Davis said.

Holmes' children have since been removed from her care, and her attorney said that Holmes will turn in her foster care license.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the drowning is still under investigation.


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Postby Marina » Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:47 am

. ... 08668.html

Posted on Sun, Dec. 02, 2007

Rivard case leaves tough questions

Child welfare officials say there ‘never was a time’ they considered taking away girl who was killed

By Sarah Arnquist

Tracy Buckingham

The county’s Child Welfare Services received seven calls about the Rivard family before November 2006. Now, after the father killed his wife, one of his children and himself last month, officials are asking themselves if there was more they could have done to prevent the deaths.

One high-ranking administrator doesn’t believe there was.

“There was never a time where any neglect or abuse referrals rose to a level that we would have even considered taking (the children) away,” said Tracy Buckingham, assistant director of social services.

On Oct. 3, John “Mike” Rivard murdered his wife, Barbara Cod-ding Rivard, after beating her with a flashlight. He then shot and killed his 7-year-old daughter, Olivia, before killing himself.

For unknown reasons, he left the couple’s two younger children alive.

Hours after learning about the murder, Buckingham said she reviewed the Rivard family’s file and pulled together every social worker who had contacted the family.

“I told them that there was absolutely nothing more they could have done,” she said. “We had every reason to believe the family was connected to the resources it needed.”

Whenever a child dies in a suspicious manner, Child Wel-

fare Services must report its history with the child or family to the state.

According to Bucking-ham’s report to state officials, Mike Rivard, a San Luis Obispo psychiatrist, made all but one of the child-welfare referrals in regard to his wife’s addiction to prescription drugs. He made the calls around the two times he filed for divorce.

Court records show the couple had a history of marital problems. Mike Rivard filed for divorce in December 2003 but withdrew the divorce papers in March 2004, only to file again in August 2004. Barbara Rivard was treated repeatedly for a prescription drug addiction, the court records showed. She was a stay-at-home mother.

After interviewing the family, social workers substantiated two of the referrals and made sure the family was connected with services, such as therapy and drug counseling, Buckingham said. Then the referrals were closed. Formal cases were never opened.

Social workers said they respond to every report they receive about suspected child abuse. They interview the children and family members involved, along with professionals, such as teachers or doctors, to see if abuse or neglect has occurred. They will open a case if they believe the family requires further monitoring.

The last referral on the Rivards was made in November 2006 by an anonymous source regarding broad concerns about Mike Rivard’s behavior. The caller gave few details.

Social workers and police responded to the call, interviewed the parents, children and the family pediatrician. They found no evidence that the children were at risk, Buckingham said.

No set protocol

Protocols on assessing risk in families and deciding when to remove children vary greatly from county to county and state to state, said Sue Steib, a director at the Child Welfare League of America, a national think tank.

That makes it impossible, she said, for someone on the outside to comment on whether the right steps were taken, without knowing every detail within context.

“The truth is there are no uniform guidelines that govern (child welfare services) or investigations,” Steib said.

San Luis Obispo police also responded to and followed up on each of the suspected child abuse referrals, Capt. Dan Blanke said. While social workers are concerned about the child’s long-term situation, a police officer’s primary concern in these instances is assessing whether the child is in immediate danger, he said.

Police officers never felt the Rivard children’s immediate psychological or physical welfare was at risk, Blanke said.

“Our people understood that a number of the family members were in counseling, …and we understood there were issues,” Blanke said. “But it was our impression that those issues were being addressed professionally,” he said.

Officials at Bishop’s Peak Elementary, where Olivia Rivard attended second grade, declined to comment for this story, saying it was too soon and some staff were still coming to grips with the tragedy.

Ed Valentine, superintendent of the San Luis Coastal school district, said counselors have worked with the children and staff at Bishop’s Peak to sort through their feelings surrounding the tragedy.

“Nobody is ever complacent or comfortable with the notion that absolutely nothing more could have been done,” Valentine said. “But I think the reality is that the notion that anyone could anticipate anything this irrational probably is unrealistic.”

While she hopes this case is an anomaly, Buckingham said San Luis Obispo is not the “nirvana” some people believe it to be, and abuse and neglect cross all racial, cultural and socioeconomic boundaries.


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Postby Marina » Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:41 pm

. ... ephen.html

Wednesday, 6:08 PM From the City & Region staff at The Boston Globe

Foster mother sentenced to eight years in prison in boy's death
December 5, 07 10:33 AM

(Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe)

Stephen was led into the courtroom in handcuffs today.

By Brian R. Ballou, Globe Staff

A foster mother was sentenced today in Suffolk Superior Court to eight years in prison for causing the death of a 4-year-old child in her care.

Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 18 to 20 years for Corinne Stephen, 26, of Boston, who was convicted last month of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Dontel Jeffers. Defense attorney John Palmer had asked for house arrest "for a lengthy period of time."



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Postby Marina » Fri Dec 07, 2007 10:27 am

. ... /712070486

December 7, 2007

Child-Death Investigation

Social workers clashed over TaJanay’s case
Despite concerns, supervisor wouldn’t seek order to take girl from home

By Tim Evans and Jon Murray
[email protected]

On two occasions during the final eight days of TaJanay Bailey's life, social workers assigned to her child protection case raised serious concerns about the girl's well-being in her mother's home.

Both times, a state Department of Child Services supervisor declined to ask a judge to order the girl's removal, DCS case files released Thursday reveal.
That refusal so frustrated a counselor and a child advocate that they planned to plead directly to the judge for the removal of 3-year-old TaJanay and her 6-month-old brother from the home.
Before they could get to juvenile court, TaJanay was dead.
Her mother, Charity Bailey, and Bailey's live-in boyfriend, Lawrence Green, are facing murder and neglect charges.
"We sometimes tend to wait too long to make those tough calls," DCS Director James W. Payne said Thursday, in his first public comments about the specifics of TaJanay's case.
He said the flaws in the agency's handling appeared to amount to errors in judgment, not misconduct, and the agency must learn from missteps revealed in about 1,500 pages of documents released Thursday.
Cause for optimism

DCS had taken the bruised and sickly girl from her mother's care in May 2006 after a former foster mother took her to the emergency room. Unemployment, drug abuse and domestic abuse had given social workers involved in the case reason for pause during the next year.
By late summer 2007, the documents show that social workers all thought Bailey and Green were making inroads and trying to bond with the children. Green had completed a parenting course and was enrolled in drug education classes, and both had jobs.
They returned TaJanay and her brother, Lawrence Green Jr., home for a 30-day trial visit Oct. 31.
But after the children came home, the couple's failure to hold jobs, lack of a family support network and a failed drug test by Charity Bailey triggered a rift among the social workers, according to the newly released records and interviews this week.
The first sign of concern appears in a Nov. 9 e-mail in which case manager Tara Hayes documented a phone call the day before from guardian ad litem Carolyn Thurston, the court-appointed advocate for TaJanay. Thurston asked for a team meeting to discuss the children's placement.
The meeting was set for Nov. 21. A flurry of e-mails on Nov. 19 indicated that Thurston, Hayes and home-based counselor Kelly Kochell were concerned about the children's welfare, but Hayes' supervisor disagreed with their suggested solution.
Hayes wrote to the team: "I don't think this is working having the kids in the home. There are major concerns."
Hayes later wrote, after speaking with her supervisor, LaQuita Thomas-Trabue: "DCS has decided not to put in an affidavit for the court to remove the children as of yet."
Thurston replied: "I predict that if DCS does not step forward with removal our agency will petition the court to order DCS to do such."
It's not clear why Thomas-Trabue, the case supervisor who had joined the case in September, rebuffed others' efforts to seek the children's removal. She and Hayes have not been made available for comment by DCS officials. She has not returned telephone messages left at her home.
In discussing the case Thursday, Payne said the e-mails did not convey an "imminent danger," which would be necessary for DCS and police to remove the child without a court order. The normal course would be to raise those issues at the next court hearing, which was set for Nov. 27.
Missed call

No one in DCS knew until after TaJanay's death that police responded to a 911 call to the couple's apartment Nov. 13 on a report of a domestic dispute, Payne said. Police talked to the couple but made no arrests.
"If we had known that," Payne said, "that would have been one of the red flags. Given that law enforcement was there, that she had packed up (and was) ready to move out -- and did not do so -- that would have been a red flag to us at subsequent meetings."
Payne said no report of that police run can be found. He said he wasn't sure it would have justified immediate removal, but it may have changed the department's stance on leaving the children in the home.
But time was running out for TaJanay.
Without DCS support to ask a judge for a removal order, Thurston and Kochell decided after the Nov. 21 team meeting to ask the judge themselves.
Because the court would be closed for Thanksgiving, they would have to wait until the Nov. 27 hearing.
Green and Bailey were the only adults in the family's apartment when, police say, the final blows came just a few hours before that court hearing.
Prosecutor Carl Brizzi called the last week of the girl's life torturous. A probable cause affidavit says TaJanay suffered whippings from a belt, was hung on a coat hook by her T-shirt and was punched in the chest, sometimes because she wet her pants.
She died of blunt-force trauma to her head, neck, trunk and extremities, a coroner's report says, and was bleeding internally on the surface of her brain.
Test of a new concept

Payne says the caseworker and supervisor are devastated by TaJanay's death.
He said he anticipated the agency's internal investigation would be finished next week, and he would issue conclusions. Nothing he has seen calls for discipline of the DCS workers involved with the case, he said.
"I will defend my staff in their judgment, because it's our job then to figure out how we can improve that judgment," Payne said. "My review of this case does not cause me to conclude that there was either malfeasance or misfeasance, nor was there neglect."
What has become clear, Payne said, is that those involved in TaJanay's case should have more thoroughly addressed domestic violence between Green and Charity Bailey and communicated better with other partners at the table.
Payne said the agency will seek lessons from the handling of the case.
The team concept, which DCS initiated as part of reforms begun in 2005, stresses collaboration among caseworkers, the parents and other social workers. The model's intent is that no single voice should outweigh any other.
Cynthia Booth, executive director of Child Advocates, which employs Thurston, said that until mid-November, "the case had been a wonderful example of teaming and collaboration."
But as differences of opinion came into play that month, she said, the old mentality that DCS knows best and should make all of the decisions seemed to trump the new approach.
"I am a supporter of this reform, and I want it to work," Booth said. "But it has to be implemented in the spirit of inclusion.
"In this case, I don't think that was the situation -- and the worst thing that could have happened did."

A rift developed among the four social workers overseeing the Child in Need of Services cases involving TaJanay Bailey and her half-brother Lawrence Green Jr. around Oct. 31, the time DCS returned the children to their mother, Charity Bailey, and Bailey's boyfriend, Lawrence Green.

Concerned by deteriorating conditions in the home and Bailey's and Green's lack of cooperation after the children were returned, two of the social workers began advocating for the children to be removed from the home. A third agreed with many of their concerns. However, DCS case supervisor LaQuita Thomas-Trabue ruled DCS would keep the family together:

Guardian Ad Litem, Supervisor of volunteers Carolyn Thurston

Thurston managed and supervised volunteer advocates and represented the child's best interest in court and at any other proceedings, including service provider meetings.

Stance: Recommended removal

Wanted the child removed from the home.

Home-based counselor Kelly B. Kochell

Assigned to the case by National Youth Advocate Program in December 2006, Kochell worked with the parents and TaJanay in the home setting to address any issues identified by DCS, the court and other counselors. She was to help the family prepare for reunification and monitor reunification. She visited the family two times a week in the month before and after reunification

Stance: Recommended removal

Kochell recommended the child be removed from home.

DCS case supervisor LaQuita Thomas-Trabue

Promoted to a case supervisor in August, Thomas-Trabue was assigned to the case in September. She oversaw case managers.

Stance: Denied removal

Thomas-Trabue did not back recommendations by Thurston and Kochell, and ordered TaJanay and her brother to remain in the care of Bailey and Green

DCS case manager Tara C. Hayes

As a rookie case manager, Hayes was assigned to the case July 14. She was responsible for overseeing management of Charity Bailey's Child in Need of Services Case.

Stance: Agreed with removal, but followed boss

Hayes agreed with Thurston and Kochell, but followed the lead of her supervisor.

Call Star reporter Tim Evans at (317) 444-6204.


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Postby Marina » Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:23 pm

. ... o&psp=news

Foster Mom Arrested In Child's Death

POSTED: 4:53 pm PST December 11, 2007
UPDATED: 5:49 pm PST December 11, 2007

OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- A North County woman has been arrested in connection with the death of her foster child, Oceanside police said.

Dania Haros, 23, of Oceanside, was taken into custody Monday on suspicion of fatally assaulting Angelina Espalin, 4, in Nov. 2006. According to police, Haros was caring for Espalin, and her 2-year-old sibling, at the time of the child's death.

Haros took the girl to Tri-City Medical Center on Nov. 19, who was unresponsive with head trauma. Espalin was transferred to Rady Children’s Hospital and succumbed to her injuries that evening.

The medical examiner ruled the girl's death a homicide, according to police.

The department's year-long investigation into the case ended Monday with Haros' arrest. She has been booked into the Vista Detention Facility and is expected to be arraigned this week.


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Postby Marina » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:48 pm

. ... _13_07.txt

Last modified Thursday, December 13, 2007 9:48 PM PST

Woman accused of killing foster child appears in court

By: TERI FIGUEROA - Staff Writer

Prosecutor says Angelina Espalin had "multiple" bruises, died from head trauma

VISTA ---- A young Oceanside foster mother charged with killing a little girl in her care 13 months ago stood handcuffed and stoic in a Vista courtroom Thursday afternoon as a prosecutor described the injuries to the slain child.

The girl's birth mother, seated in the courtroom, held her hand over her mouth to try to stifle her sobs as she watched Dania Yesenia Haros face Superior Court Judge Adrienne Orfield.

Haros, 23, is accused of murder and assault in the death of 4-year-old Angelina Espalin, who died in November 2006.

An autopsy revealed the child died as a result of blunt-force trauma, Deputy District Attorney Kelly Mok told Orfield.

Angelina had multiple bruises on her face and body, Mok said, adding that the autopsy also revealed 30 hemorrhages on the child's scalp.

The county medical examiner ruled the death a homicide. The investigation into Angelina's death lasted more than a year.

Charges of murder and assault were filed against Haros on Thursday, three days after her arrest.

At the request of the deputy public defender acting as Haros' attorney in court, Haros will not be arraigned on the charges until Monday and will not enter a plea until then.

Orfield set Haros' bail at $5 million, half the amount Mok had sought. Mok said there was information to show that Haros and her husband had been planning a move to Mexico.

Angelina and her 2-year-old sister had been placed with Haros and Haros' husband less than six months before the fatal blow to Angelina, Mok said.

The two little girls were living with at the Haros' home in the 2200 block of Maxson Street, a quiet residential neighborhood near the Center City Golf Course in Oceanside.

On Nov. 19, 2006, the Haros couple took an unconscious Angelina to Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside. The little girl was transferred to Rady Children's Hospital, where she died, police said.

Mok said the little girl had "significant brain swelling" and was pronounced brain dead. Officials removed Angelina's little sister from the Haros' care that evening, she said.

Dania Haros originally denied any involvement in Angelina's death, Mok said, but "ultimately admitted" assaulting Angelina.

Oceanside police said after Haros' arrest earlier this week that they do not expect to make any other arrests. Haros' husband was not involved nor present at the time of the incident, police said.

Outside of court, a Spring Valley woman who said she was Angelina's foster mother prior to Haros, said she was "shocked and horrified" by the death.

"She was a beautiful, outgoing, very outspoken little girl," S'te Elmore said. "I can't imagine what Angelina went through and why anybody would do that to her. It's just unimaginable."

Elmore said she served as the foster mother to both Espalin girls for about a year before the children were moved to the Haros' home.

Accompanying Elmore at the courthouse was Patricia Espalin, who is Angelina's birth mother. Patricia Espalin's twin sister and grandmother were with them.

Asked why her children were taken from her, Patricia Espalin paused for second.

"I made a bunch of mistakes in my life," she said. "I was young."

The San Diego woman, who is 22, said her youngest daughter, Elisa, remains in county foster care. She said she has not seen Elisa recently, but said she is "not going to stop fighting to get my other daughter back."

"She doesn't need to be in the system," Patricia Espalin said of Elisa. "The system already killed ..."

Patricia Espalin stopped mid-sentence, turned, walked away down the courthouse hallway and sobbed.

County officials were unable to say late Thursday how many children in the county's foster care system have died in the last two years.

In November 2006, a county spokesperson said three children died while in foster care in 2005.

Contact staff writer Teri Figueroa at (760) 631-6624 or [email protected].


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Postby Marina » Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:05 pm


Tucson Region
Another 2 local kids die under CPS' watch
Intervention was attempted for infant, 4-year-old boy
By Josh Brodesky


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