NORTH CAROLINA INFO AND CASES
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Monthly Archives: December 2009
I love Christmas, it is one of my favorite times of year. In our family it is all about tradition, every year, the day after Thanksgiving to be exact, my husband drags the entire family up the mountain to pick out our Christmas tree, like the Griswold’s in the movie, “Christmas Vacation“.
To read more and see my beautiful pictures, visit the link above
Grandmother of slain teen says she repeatedly called the state child abuse hotline
By Michelle Cole, The Oregonian
December 10, 2009, 10:10PM
The step-grandmother of a 16-year-old Eugene girl who police say was abused and tortured before her death on Wednesday says she repeatedly called a state child abuse hotline, trying to get someone to check on the teenager.
According to court documents, Jeanette Maples’ death “came in the course of, or as a result of intentional maiming and torture.” Her mother, Angela McAnulty, 41, and stepfather, Richard McAnulty, 40, appeared in court Thursday to face aggravated murder charges.
Thursday afternoon, Dr. Bruce Goldberg, director of the Oregon Department of Human Services, ordered an internal investigation into caseworkers’ contact with the family.
Lynn McAnulty, Richard’s mother, was technically Maples’ step-grandmother but said “we took her in as if she was our own.”
Several months ago, McAnulty said she became concerned about the teenager. Maples had a split and swollen lip, she said. “And it looked like somebody had taken a fist and yanked her hair.”
She asked about the girl’s swollen lip. ” ‘Fallen down’ is what they told me,” she said.
Urged by a friend, McAnulty said she called the state child abuse hotline. She said she made several calls, each time making anonymous reports. She was uncertain when she started making the calls but it was several months ago.
She didn’t give her name, McAnulty said, “because I didn’t want to lose contact with my grandchildren.”
McAnulty lives in Walterville, on the McKenzie Highway six miles east of Springfield.
In terrible hindsight, McAnulty said she should have called police. But she just wanted someone to check on the girl and she thought child welfare officials would do that.
Gene Evans, a Human Services spokesman, could not provide any details on the child abuse hotline calls.
One of the purposes of the investigation is to find out what happened, he said.
Whenever a child known to state child welfare officials dies or is seriously injured, Oregon law requires the Department of Human Services to convene a critical incident response team to comb through the agency’s files and contacts with the family.
Such reviews are somewhat unusual. The death or injury of a child has triggered 24 similar reviews since Gov. Ted Kulongoski called for more scrutiny and accountability of the child welfare system in 2004.
Detectives worked through the night Wednesday and Thursday afternoon to determine what happened to Maples.
The Lane County district attorney and medical examiner are working on the case. A cause of death has not been released.
Two younger children in the home were taken into protective custody.
A Lane County Sheriff official said the girl was taken by ambulance from her home in the 150 block of Howard Avenue at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
A caller to 9-1-1 told dispatchers that a person there was not breathing. Maples was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.
Staff writer Stuart Tomlinson also contributed to this report.
NYC Family Court judge denies Child Protective Services permission to enter hotline subject’s home
In a decision posted yesterday, Kings County Family Court Judge, Jeanette Ruiz, refused to grant the Administration for Children’s services permission to enter the home of J. Smith. Children’s Services had applied for a pre-petition ex-parte court order as part of an ongoing investigation which began when someone anonymously called the State Central Register hotline on J. Smith in July of 2009.
To read the rest of this story, please visit the above link
Review: CPS Inconsistent with Policies
Updated: Monday, 14 Dec 2009, 9:30 PM CST
Published : Monday, 14 Dec 2009, 1:18 PM CST
HOUSTON – Approximately 200 children die of abuse or neglect in Texas each year; a growing number of those children who die had a prior history with Child Protective Services.
There has been outrage that prior visits were failing to detect warning signs in order to protect children.
A review of the Houston CPS region was ordered in July by the state, after several deaths of children who had a history with CPS. The results from that review were released on Monday.
A team of people with the Department of Family and Protective Services were deployed to Houston for the review. They researched records and cases and did extensive interviews with staff.
The review team concluded that CPS caseworkers are not spending enough time with families and that is partly due to extensive workloads.
Caseworkers missed some risk and safety issues when conducting home visits during investigations, according to the review. In almost half the cases, risk and safety were evaluated appropriately.
Review team members also said that investigative caseworkers are only reviewing and using CPS history in approximately half the cases and need more training in mental health issues.
Reviewers found that cases were transferred out of investigations before all steps had been taken to to fully assess risk and safety, which has left regular caseworkers at a disadvantage and the child potentially unsafe.
Decisions made in case reviews lacked sufficient follow-up by caseworkers and supervisors, according to the review.
Reviewers added that in the Family Based Safety Services program, newly reported incidents of alleged abuse or neglect were addressed with families only half the time.
One recommendation made by reviewers is for CPS to hire all the 116 family-based safety service program caseworkers allocated in the previous legislative session and also reviewing whether more employees need to be shifted to this area.
Reviewers also recommended strengthen practices to keep children safe when parents voluntarily place them outside of the home with relatives or family friends.
Gaps in the transfer of cases from investigations to the Family Based Safety Service program need to be eliminated, reviewers said.
The review team also recommended that investigators be given more immediate access to critical case history and information.
On the Web: Child Protective Services Region 6 Operational and Management Review (.pdf) –
Review: CPS missed warning signs
Investigation shows family history of abuse missed in half of cases
Caseworkers for Texas Child Protective Services have regularly missed warning signs that Houston-area children were in danger, including failing to thoroughly investigate a family’s previous history of abuse or neglect, according to a report released on Monday.
“In only half the cases, risk and safety were evaluated appropriately,” the report’s investigators — a review team from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in Austin — concluded. “Investigative caseworkers are reviewing and utilizing CPS history in only about half of the cases.”
The team’s report is based on a review of 95 randomly selected child abuse investigations, a fraction of the 16,107 investigations completed between February and July in Harris and 12 surrounding counties.
The review was part of several regional reviews scheduled this year. However, the review here was expedited following the deaths of three Houston-area children who died of child abuse: 4-year-old Emma Thompson, of Spring, David Tijerina, 3, of Conroe and Katy infant Amber Maccurdy.
All three died either during or shortly after CPS investigated complaints of abuse involving their care and the children were allowed to remain in their homes. In the Maccurdy and Tijerina cases, there had been several visits to their families regarding abuse or neglect.
The caseworker in the Amber Maccurdy case walked away after the girl’s mother refused to let her examine the child. Amber died of a staph infection shortly after that visit.
In David Tijerina’s case, CPS workers had visited his home at least four times. He died of a beating.
In Emma Thompson’s case, the girl’s doctor called CPS after finding what appeared to be a genital herpes outbreak on her. Three weeks later, she was dead. An autopsy determined she had been sexually abused and suffered a skull fracture and more than 80 bruises.
The report also noted that child abuse cases in this region were passed too quickly from investigators to Family-Based Safety Services caseworkers — those assigned to help the family eliminate risk of abuse — leaving “the child potentially unsafe.”
With the exception of the removal of 439 children from their polygamist parents in 2008, CPS officials have strived to remove children from abusive households only when there is immediate risk to the child.
“We’ve always tried to keep children safely in their own homes or with their extended family, if possible,” CPS spokesman Patrick Crimmins said.
But at least one children’s advocate says this latest report shows once again that CPS’s goal of keeping families together often runs counter to keeping the child safe, which is the agency’s ultimate mission.
“Investigative and (Family Based Safety) have different focuses,” said Randy Burton, executive director of Justice for Children. “And these coordination challenges of keeping families together has led to the deaths of these children.”
CPS insists the issue is not that clear-cut.
“Whether a child is removed from the home, whether or not there is a voluntary placement with family members or not, those are decisions made to ensure a child’s safety, not decisions made solely to keep families together,” Crimmins said.
Monday’s review offered several remedies, from reallocating workers from investigations to the family caseworker unit to using more of the agency’s “special investigators,” those workers with a law enforcement background, to help locate families more quickly, thereby getting the child help more quickly.
Burton said none of the findings were a surprise.
“These are things we have known for a long time,” he said.
CPS review of Houston cases targets caseworkers
AUSTIN, Texas — Risk and safety were properly evaluated in only about half of the Child Protective Services cases in the Houston region during an internal review.
Details are from a review of 95 randomly selected caseworkers conducted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
The report, released Monday in Austin, found caseworkers regularly missed warning signs that children were in danger.
CPS spokesman Patrick Crimmins says workers always tried to keep children safely in their own homes or with their extended family, if possible.
Suggestions for improvement included using more of the agency’s “special investigators,” those workers with a law enforcement background. Another recommendation is to enroll parents more quickly in parenting classes and substance abuse treatment.
Reports on other CPS regions of Texas are expected next year.
Out of prison, Franklin woman fails to regain custody of kids (GOOD!!)
By TIM ZATZARINY Jr.
TRENTON — A former Franklin woman who was charged in the death of her adopted 5-year-old son has lost an attempt to regain parental rights involving two other children she and her husband had adopted.
A state Appellate Court panel Monday rejected the request by Heather Lindorff.
Lindorff was convicted in 2003 of endangering the welfare of a child in the December 2001 death of her adopted son Jacob, 5, inside their Franklin home.
Jacob was one of six Russian children whom Lindorff and her husband, James, had adopted.
An autopsy determined Jacob died from blunt trauma to the head, causing bleeding on the brain. His body showed other signs of physical abuse, authorities said.
Heather Lindorff, now 45, was sentenced to six years in state prison. She was released this year on Nov. 16, according to the state Department of Corrections.
In December 2008, Heather Lindorff filed an appeal alleging there was a lack of fact finding before the state Division of Youth and Family Services moved to take away her parental rights following allegations in 2006 that the couple continued abusing their adopted children.
At the time, the Lindorffs had limited visitation with the children, who were in foster care, and Heather Lindorff was free on bail pending an appeal of her conviction.
In a decision released Monday, a three-judge appellate panel determined Heather Lindorff’s appeal regarding her parental rights was moot because she had voluntarily surrendered them during a July 2009 court proceeding so the boys’ current foster family could adopt them.
James Lindorff, 60, was convicted of child neglect in the death of Jacob. He was sentenced to probation and community service.
In September 2007, James Lindorff was charged in Salem County with conspiracy to commit murder in connection with a plot to kill a witness against him in the 2006 abuse case.
He is serving a seven-year state prison sentence on the conspiracy charge.