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Marina
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Colorado System

Postby Marina » Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:38 am

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http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/l ... 32,00.html

Advocates say case shows weaknesses


By Myung Oak Kim, Rocky Mountain News
August 29, 2007

The new report detailing government contact with 7- year-old Chandler Grafner prior to his death reveals the sad reality of child welfare services in Colorado, advocates said Tuesday.
County welfare agencies are underfunded and overworked, they say. And when you have a child who doesn't show signs of severe abuse or neglect, moves from home to home frequently and comes into contact with numerous government agencies that don't communicate well, the case can fall through the cracks, they add."It's easy to miss these things," said Skip Barber, executive director of the Colorado Association of Family and Children's Agencies, an advocacy, training and education group. "If the kid suffers life-threatening abuse or there's major trauma and the kid ends up in the emergency room, then it's hard to miss. But often times, these things are subtle . . . I would say they probably catch more than they miss."

The report, released Tuesday by the Colorado Department of Human Services, indicates that three county welfare agencies investigated reports of abuse or neglect by Chandler's relatives beginning three years ago and that there was inadequate follow-up.

The state has ordered the agencies involved to address these problems. Improvements are sorely needed, child welfare advocates say.

A major problem is sharing of information, said Tara Trujillo, director of health initiatives at the Colorado Children's Campaign, an advocacy organization working on children's health, education and care.

Trujillo said agencies that handle child welfare issues don't use the same technology and often can't share information. Lack of funding to track abuse cases makes problems worse.

"What I really took away from this is the actual technology system is not working well, the community is not working together well and there's not the investment in the responsibility to know what's going on with that family," Trujillo said.

Recommendations

The following are part of the Colorado Department of Human Services report on the Chandler Grafner case:

• Request corrective action plans by counties to address deficiencies found in the report.

• Require completion of home studies for all child placements.

• Implement training and policies to address attachment issues between children and adult caregivers.

• Ensure that all new information about social services cases is entered in the statewide data system.

• Improve the system of locating missing parents and kin for children needing placement.

CHANGES IMPLEMENTED BY DENVER

• Police or a social worker will respond to any child welfare referral from a school.

• Denver will follow up on any new reports on an open case when the child lives or is placed in Denver, even if the case originated in another county.

• Allegations of child abuse that can't be confirmed after a child recants will be classified as "inconclusive" rather than "unfounded."

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Marina
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 3:06 pm

Postby Marina » Sun Sep 30, 2007 8:03 am

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http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/l ... 42,00.html

Failed by safety net, kids die under social services' watch

Shay Smith, 2, drowned in 2006 while being pulled behind a boat.



By Myung Oak Kim, Rocky Mountain News
September 29, 2007

Neveah Gallegos and Chandler Grafner aren't the only children who were killed this year after hitting the social services radar.
At least three children have died while their care was monitored by county human services agencies.

Seven-year-old LoReyna Barea died March 9 after Weld County Department of Social Services placed her in the custody of her aunt, Genevieve Barea, 45, of Evans. The girl weighed 35 pounds and had almost 50 bruises on her body at the time of her death, authorities said. The aunt and her husband, Dan Partch, 47, have been charged with child abuse resulting in death.

The State Department of Human Services is reviewing how county social services handled the Barea case. That investigation, called a child fatality review, is expected to be completed in a couple of weeks, said Liz McDonough, state human services spokeswoman.

State DHS just launched a review of how the Denver Department of Human Services handled 3-year-old Neveah Gallegos, who's body was found Monday in a west Denver ravine. Her mother's boyfriend, convicted sex offender Angel Ray Montoya, 22, is in custody awaiting formal charges in the girl's death. The mother, Miriam Gallegos, 20, also faces accessory charges.

Denver human services, which knew last year of sex abuse allegations involving Montoya and the girl, has asked for a third-party investigation of its child welfare practices.

That investigation will be done by state human services and two foundations that have expertise in child abuse. It is separate from the child fatality review.

Child fatality reviews are conducted by a 15-member panel, which includes a doctor, psychologist, child welfare consultant and attorney general's office staffer. The rest of the team is made up of state and county human services employees.

The panel investigates child abuse deaths that occurred after having contact with social services within five years of the death. They do not investigate all of these deaths, but pick cases that can help bring attention to ways to improve child welfare practices, said coordinator Susan Ludwig.

The team typically completes three reviews each year. This year, the group finished reviews of the deaths of Chandler Grafner and Shay Smith.

Chandler, 7, died May 6 while in the care of his stepfather in south Denver. Jon Phillips, 27, and his common law wife, Sarah Berry, 22, are accused of starving the boy to death and have been charged with murder.

The review, released Aug. 28, found that human services agencies in Jefferson and Denver counties made poor judgments and violated six regulations during their involvement.

Shay, 2, drowned in Carter Lake in Larimer County in July 2006 while being pulled in a tube by a boat driven by his father, Gil Smith, who was intoxicated. The father, of Longmont, served a brief prison sentence and probation for the boy's death. He has since been arrested twice for alcohol-related offenses.

Boulder County Department of Social Services went to the boy's home in July 2005 and obtained a written promise from the father that he would not be alone with his children while drinking.

The state review, completed July 31, said, while "there were some weaknesses," that Boulder County social services followed rules and regulations.

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Marina
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Postby Marina » Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:47 pm

http://www.montrosepress.com/articles/2 ... 411932.txt

Walsh refutes abuse allegation




By Katharhynn Heidelberg
Daily Press Senior Writer
Published/Last Modified on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 7:17 PM MDT

PARADOX — A child abuse citation against county commission hopeful Tim Walsh is nothing more than a political smear, the candidate said.

Walsh was cited on suspicion of child abuse and reckless endangerment, according to the Nucla Associate Court. Also cited were his wife, Robin, Shawna Parker and Tyrell Parker, the Montrose County Sheriff's Office said.

According to the MCSO, the citations were issued after two of Walsh's grandchildren were injured in a four-wheeler accident Aug. 29.
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"It's political," Walsh said. "Somebody's trying to get it in the papers so they can smear my name before the election."

Walsh said his grandson rode an ATV down to turn on irrigation pumps, then picked up his little sister to give her a ride. The little girl grabbed hold of the throttle, causing the ATV to dump them. The children were taken to the clinic and required a few stitches, he said. One child in the home called 911, though, triggering an investigation.

Walsh, a Democrat, is running against Republican David White for the District 3 county commission seat. He petitioned onto the ballot for the primary and won more votes than caucus winner Roger Brown.

Walsh was stunned to be cited for abuse for what he says was a simple accident. He hopes to speak to the district attorney to resolve the case.

"I'll be found innocent," Walsh said. "We live on a farm. Like every other farm area, our children drive four wheelers. ... This is another case of the west meets the east. People in the city have no idea what it's like to live in the country and raise children in the country."

Walsh said if the citation against him stands, anyone else is fair game for simple accidents, too. "This means if I put him (child) on a horse, and the horse throws him, I get a ticket. If you let your children ride a bicycle and they wreck, you could be ticketed," he said.

Robin Walsh said the situation was "definitely political" and she hoped the DA would dismiss the ticket.

"If he doesn't, we're to plead not guilty, because there wasn't anything that was abuse. There was no abusive situation there at all," she said.

"Right now, we're kind of up in the air. The DA won't talk to us. ... According to Tim's attorney, it's a political thing, because nobody's ever been charged for having kids on 4-wheelers. ... Until we can set up a meeting with the DA, we can't even tell what happened, or why he's charging."

Both Walshes referred to a 5-year-old Grand Junction boy who was injured in a motocross accident. No charges were filed in that case, they said.

The MCSO's West End office referred further questions about the incident to the DA's office. District Attorney Myrl Serra said the decision to cite the Walshes was made by the MCSO.

Officials at the sheriff's office in Montrose who were familiar with the case were not in the office Wednesday.

Crawford attorney Lynn French, who will likely represent Walsh in the case, said he'd never heard of child abuse citations being issued under such circumstances.

"If you're guilty of child abuse for allowing your child to drive farm and ranch equipment, everyone's guilty of it in Western Colorado," he said. "I just never have heard of somebody getting charged with something like that."

The Walshes are due in court in Nucla next week.


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