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Category Archives: Oregon CPS

Cries for help for Jeanette Maples got no answer

 

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/01/cries_for_help_for_jeanette_ma.html

 

By Susan Goldsmith, The Oregonian

January 02, 2010, 5:24PM

EUGENE — Many in this community were heartbroken last month when they learned that 15-year-old Jeanette Maples was killed, but few were surprised when authorities charged her mother and stepfather with murder.

For three years, people in Jeanette’s life tried to get child welfare authorities involved, to no avail. Her step-grandmother, a concerned parent of a friend and educators all called the state Department of Human Services because she was bruised, constantly hungry and said she had been beaten at home.

Though police and prosecutors have released few details about the case, citing an ongoing criminal investigation, Jeanette’s relatives, friends and former teachers say she died a horrific death at her Eugene home after being starved and abused for years.

Her mother, Angela McAnulty, 41, and stepfather, Richard McAnulty, 40, have been charged with aggravated murder as a result of “intentional maiming and torture.” Both could face the death penalty if convicted, and both have pleaded not guilty.

DHS officials won’t comment, because they’ve convened a critical incident response team review to examine how the agency handled the case. The internal inquiry is expected to wrap up this month.

“The CIRT investigation under way is aggressively reviewing all prior contacts with the family to find out what happened,” said Gene Evans, a DHS spokesman.

Jeanette, a quiet, dark-haired girl who sought refuge in books at her school’s library, tried unsuccessfully to hide her injuriesduring her middle school years, friends recalled. But many days when she got into her clothes for gym class, friends saw bruises on her abdomen and legs, which she said came from falling.

One classmate, Amber Davis, wouldn’t accept Jeanette’s explanations about her injuries and pressed her for the truth.

“She told me her mom was abusing her when we were in seventh grade,” said Davis, 15, one of Jeanette’s closest friends during her years at Cascade Middle School.

Davis told her parents and school officials about Jeanette’s bruises in 2007, and they contacted the state’s child welfare office in Eugene. Cascade Middle School officials, who didn’t want to be identified because of the ongoing investigations, say they contacted the DHS at least twice while Jeanette was a student.

Jeanette’s stepgrandmother, Lynn McAnulty, who lives in Leaburg and saw her grandchildren only occasionally, says she twice called child welfare authorities anonymously in six months to report abuse. At the funeral, grieving friends, their parents, teachers and family members said they trusted that social workers would rescue Jeanette, but they never did.

“It’s hard to understand. I told. Everybody told, and nothing happened,” Davis said.

Jeanette’s death follows five years of critical incident reviews into child deaths and serious injuries of youngsters who’ve had contact with the DHS. Twenty-one reports since 2004 identify a myriad of problems, including a failure to investigate and follow up on cases, inadequate documentation and lack of ongoing assessment.

“This agency cannot hold itself out as protecting children when they repeatedly fail,” said David Paul, a Portland attorney who has sued the department on behalf of 10 children. “I am tired of hearing they need new resources. They don’t need new regulations or a blue-ribbon panel. What’s needed is accountability and public oversight, and it’s just not happening.”

Signs of trouble

People who know Angela McAnulty, Jeanette’s mother, describe her as a high-strung and controlling woman who made little money, once lived in her car, and isolated her children from others.

In Sacramento in 1995, McAnulty lost custody of Jeanette, who was then 1 year old, and the girl’s two older brothers because of suspected abuse and neglect. The children’s father, Anthony Maples, was in prison for drug offenses and had little contact with his children.

In a phone interview, Anthony Maples said his two sons, Jeanette’s brothers, grew up in foster care after they wrote a letter to the family court judge overseeing their case pleading to not be sent back to their mother.

Jeanette spent 5 1/2 years in foster care in Sacramento before she was returned to her mother in 2001, Anthony Maples said.

By that time, Angela McAnulty, who was a cashier at a discount store, had another daughter. Sometime after being reunited with Jeanette, Angela met Richard McAnulty, a truck driver, and the two were married in 2002.

Angela and Richard had a son, and the family moved to Eugene in late 2005, according to Lynn McAnulty, Richard’s mother.

Jeanette started at Cascade Middle School in the middle of her sixth-grade year in 2006. Her mother sent her there in ratty sweatpants and an old yellowing T-shirt, and children made fun of her, her friends said.

Despite the teasing about her clothing and appearance, friends said, Jeanette loved school. She liked writing and reading poetry and being away from home.

But there were signs of serious trouble. Jeanette was constantly hungry, and each day when it was time to go home, her demeanor changed, friends said. She became sad, withdrawn and anxious. Her mother was strict, they said, and wouldn’t allow friends to call her or let Jeanette visit their homes or invite them over.

“Once the bell rang to go home, you could see she didn’t want to go,” said Karina Mora, 15, a friend from middle school who attended her funeral.

Amber Davis said Jeanette confessed that her mother beat her after Davis pushed her to explain the repeated injuries. She encouraged her friend to get help, but Jeanette feared that would enrage her mother.

“She got scared and said she didn’t want her mom to take her out of school because she thought things would get worse,” Davis remembered.

Davis then told her mother, Holly Sams, who called the DHS office in Eugene.

Sams said child welfare screeners downplayed her concerns and told her secondhand accounts of abuse were not sufficiently serious to send social workers out. So Sams told her daughter to enlist officials at Cascade Middle School, which she did.

One school official who asked not to be named and who spoke at Jeanette’s funeral said: “We cared about her. We did what we could, and we fed her.”

Stepgrandmother reported her concerns to state

After graduating from eighth grade in the spring of 2008, Jeanette was home-schooled by her mother. Friends and family say she was hidden away with almost no contact with the outside world while her siblings attended school and appeared healthy and happy.

Richard McAnulty was often out of town driving trucks across the country. Last summer he ended up in a California hospital for open-heart surgery. Angela McAnulty and the children showed up at the hospital.

Jeanette “looked bad, really thin, her hair had been chopped off, and she had a busted lip,” her stepgrandmother, Lynn McAnulty, said.

A few weeks later, McAnulty called the DHS to report suspected abuse. She didn’t give her name because she was worried her son and daughter-in-law would find out.

“I said I was a neighbor and told them to check on the kids and said the older girl is extremely thin, and they said they’d check into it,” McAnulty said.

In October, she was briefly allowed into the family’s home. Jeanette was inside, facing a wall because she was being punished by her mother. McAnulty tried to talk to Jeanette as her daughter-in-law hovered nearby. The girl was emaciated, and she had a split lip, the stepgrandmother said.

Angela McAnulty told her mother-in-law that Jeanette had fallen.

Lynn McAnulty left the house and said she again called the DHS anonymously to report suspected abuse. That was the last time she saw Jeanette.

On the night of Dec. 9, Lynn McAnulty got a frantic call from her son and daughter-in-law that Jeanette was cold and had stopped breathing. Lynn McAnulty said she screamed at them to call 9-1-1, which they did. The couple were arrested later that night after Jeanette was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

No official cause of death has been released. Detectives took away boxes of evidence, and Lynn McAnulty was given the grim task of cleaning out the house.

She found food padlocked in kitchen cupboards and a blood-spattered bedroom. She described the inside of the house as filthy, with junk and toys everywhere. Investigators urged her not to view her stepgranddaughter’s body.

“They all told me that I did not want to see this body because it was the most horrific thing they’d ever seen,” said McAnulty, who took their advice.

“Dropped into the abyss”

Even though the DHS investigation will not be made public for weeks, one child welfare advocate in Oregon is confident the agency is making important strides and diligently examining its mistakes.

“The leadership of DHS is finally willing to work with advocates and scrutinize themselves,” said Robin Christian, executive director of the nonprofit Children First For Oregon.

But she added: “The state is not making the kind of child welfare investments they need.”

Attorney David Paul isn’t convinced. After deposing scores of state child welfare workers and administrators and examining reams of internal agency documents, he says he does not believe any meaningful change will come from the inside.

“Trying to make this agency accountable is like trying to push a freightliner with a canoe paddle. They are interested in maintaining the status quo,” Paul said. “People call the hot line expecting something is going to happen, but you are dropped into the abyss without any rope.”

Lois Day, administrator for the DHS’ Office of Safety and Permanency for Children, said all calls about abuse and neglect are documented. She said if an allegation of abuse or neglect is made, department officials determine how quickly a family needs to be seen.

“Our response times are within 24 hours to five days,” Day said. “We have to document that a delay does not compromise the safety of a child.”

If a social worker goes out and determines abuse or neglect is not a concern, that is also documented, she said.

In Jeanette’s case, what steps the agency took after receiving calls won’t be known until its report is made public.

“The injuries on Jeanette were completely obvious,” Amber Davis said. “There’s no way anyone from the department could have seen her and said she was OK.”

– Susan Goldsmith

Grandmother of slain teen says she repeatedly called the state child abuse hotline

 

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/12/grandmother_of_slain_teen_says.html

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.

Michelle Cole

‘You can’t know the things people hide’

 

http://www.kval.com/news/local/70420352.html

By Laura Rillos KVAL News

EUGENE, Ore. — Members of Lane County’s foster parent community are shaken by allegations a foster parent sexually abused two of his children.

Joshua Thomas Friar, 26, was arrested after two of his foster children alleged he had sex with them.

According to Oregon State Police investigators, Friar met the boys while working at Jasper Mountain, a facility for children with emotional problems.

According to court records, the boys were 9 and 12 when the abuse allegedly started.

“It frustrates me and angers me to know something like this could happen to the children in our foster care system,” said Tammy Hadley, a foster parent and president of the Foster Parent Association for Lane County. “It angers me really badly.”

To become a foster parent, Friar had to go through a Department of Human Services screening. It included a criminal background check, checks with references as well as interviews and home visits.

Friar also passed the screening process at Jasper Mountain.

However, until his arrest Saturday, Friar had no criminal record.

Patricia Feeney, a DHS spokeswoman, acknowledged their system is not foolproof.

“I think, for the most part, I would say to you, children are safe in foster care,” said Feeney, who said she could not comment specifically on Friar’s case.

When asked if DHS had plans to evaluate the foster parent screening process, Feeney said, “Actually, we’ve already done that. We’ve changed. It’s a much more rigorous process.”

She believed those changes took effect this fall and said they are stricter than they were when Friar became a foster parent. She would not disclose when that was.

Hadley believes the system works as best as it can.

“You can’t know some body’s heart,” she said. “You can’t know the things people hide.”

 

Hadley fears this case will give people a bad impression of the foster care system.

“There are good and bad people, there are good and bad foster parents, there are good and bad news stations,” she said. “And you know, it’s a hard, hard place. It breaks my heart.”

Friar has not yet entered a plea, as a grand jury has to decide whether or not to indict him.

He is being held on $2 million bail.

DHS says it plans to do more to protect foster kids

 

http://www.katu.com/news/local/57093372.html

By Shellie Bailey-Shah KATU News and KATU.com Staff

PORTLAND, Ore. – In response to a highly critical internal report that said the state left children in foster homes despite claims parents were abusing them, the Department of Human Services admitted to mistakes Thursday and said it was trying to figure out how to better protect foster kids in the future.

This past July, foster father Warren Tripp was convicted of sodomizing and sexually abusing his 15-year-old foster daughter who was one of more than 90 children who, over the years, lived with him and his wife.

A just-released report, from an internal DHS investigation, details 16 complaints about the parents dating back to 1995. In spite of those complaints, the Tripps were recertified as foster parents every single year.

“I think if a child protective services worker investigated those reports, we would have found abuse,” said Gene Evans of the Oregon Department of Human Services.

Nationally, Oregon has an above average abuse rate going back to 1993. Last year, DHS had a record number of abuse reports, but only a third got investigated. The rest were screened out, as in the case of the Tripp family.

Over the next 90 days DHS said it will hire 130 new caseworkers to increase face to face contact with foster kids and parents. It will review all 83 abuse cases from last year, and it will review a sampling of long-time foster parents to see if they’re really fit to be taking care of kids.

 New rules, instituted over the past year, now require caseworkers to look at a foster parent’s complaint history and not just one particular incident.

When asked whether DHS should have looked at a foster parent’s complaint history over the past 10 years, Evans said that he thinks there were child protective workers doing that “just out of common sense. Now it’s the process,” he said.

 A 19-year-old woman is also suing DHS for $5 million, claiming the agency placed her with her grandfather, a convicted rapist.

Video Link: http://www.katu.com/news/local/57093372.html

Police say mother poisoned baby’s milk

 

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2009/08/14/police_say_mother_poisoned_babys_milk/

Sara Rose Dillard-Lubin

Sara Rose Dillard-Lubin

Dillard-Lubin

By Associated Press

August 14, 2009

PORTLAND, Ore. – A 25-year-old former medical assistant on probation for a similar crime laced her breast milk with morphine and fed it to her 2-month-old daughter in an effort to attract the attention of the child’s father, authorities alleged yesterday.

Sarah Rose Dillard-Lubin of Aloha was on probation from California for feeding her son, who was 10 months old at the time, two opiate pills, officials said. Both children survived.

In both cases, Dillard-Lubin was trying to attract the attention of the child’s father – a different man in each case, said Sergeant David Thompson of the Washington County sheriff’s office.

Dillard-Lubin was indicted Wednesday. She pleaded not guilty to assault charges yesterday, said her lawyer, Dean Smith.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, Jane Robison, said Dillard-Lubin pleaded no contest to a count of child abuse in 2006, accused of feeding two opiate pills to her boy.

At St. Vincent’s Hospital in June, doctors admitted the 2-month-old for observation, although they couldn’t detect the fever that Lubin said she had. The next morning, a nurse found the child barely breathing. The baby survived, but her condition puzzled doctors until toxicology tests came back positive for opiates.

Dillard-Lubin told the hospital that she was on a pain killer and the opiates must have come through her breast milk, Thompson said. But lab tests of her milk turned up a high level of morphine, he said, indicating the drug had been added to it after pumping.

Thompson said Oregon officials have taken custody of the 2-month-old daughter, while custody of the boy in the California case was given to the father.

 

Woman Arrested for Poisoning Baby Daughter with Morphine

 

She’s on probation in LA County for poisoning of her then 10-month-old child in a very similar situation.

 

Salem-News,com

http://salem-news.com/articles/august142009/morphine_poisoning_8-13-09.php

(PORTLAND, Ore.) – A Washington County woman was arraigned today on charges stemming from an incident that occurred in June where she gave her infant daughter a high dose of morphine in order to gain attention from the father of the child. Sgt. David Thompson with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, says on June 3, 2009, 25-year-old Sara Rose Dillard-Lubin took her then two-month-old daughter to the emergency room at St. Vincent’s Hospital claiming that her daughter had a high fever.

“Although the doctors were unable to find any signs of the fever they were cautious and admitted the infant for observation overnight,” Thompson said. “Early the next morning, on June 4th, a nurse on her scheduled rounds found the infant and the mother presumably asleep in the hospital room. The nurse took the vital signs of the child and was alarmed to find the child barely breathing with a low heart rate.”

Thompson says the nurse immediately called for assistance and the child was eventually transported to Doernbecher’s Children’s Hospital and admitted to the critical care unit.

He says, “The young girl survived because of the prompt attention she received at the hospital.”

“Doctors were puzzled as to the cause of the child’s sudden medical condition. Four days later they got their answer when the toxicology tests came back positive for opiates.”

Upon discovering the drug in the child’s system, doctors asked Ms. Dillard-Lubin how that could have happened, Thompson said.

“Ms. Dillard-Lubin told the hospital that she was on a pain killer for a medical condition and the opiates must have come through her breast milk. When she brought in a sample for them to test, they found a high amount of morphine in the milk, indicating that it had been added after she extracted it from her body.”

Doctors called the Oregon Department of Human Services, Child Protective Services, and reported the unusual series of events that had occurred. DHS started an investigation and took custody of the child for her safety.

Washington County Sheriff’s detectives were called by the hospital to investigate any crimes that may have occurred.

Thompson says that since DHS had taken custody of the child and she was safe, detectives decided to wait before they interviewed Ms. Dillard-Lubin so that DHS could continue their investigation without interference.

“Detectives suspect that Ms. Dillard-Lubin was upset that the father of the child did not come to the hospital when she initially admitted the baby with a fever. They believe that, in order to gain the fathers attention, Ms. Dillard-Lubin decided to poison her baby with morphine while they were still at the hospital.”

Detectives eventually arrested Ms. Dillard-Lubin on a probation violation. During their investigation detectives learned that Ms. Dillard-Lubin is on probation after being convicted in Los Angeles County of Willful Cruelty to a Child.

That conviction stemmed from the poisoning of Ms. Dillard-Lubin’s then ten-month-old child.

In a very similar situation, Ms. Dillard-Lubin used morphine to create a medical emergency. The child was flown to UCLA Medical Center and survived.

He was taken from Ms. Dillard-Lubin and custody was eventually given to the father, who is not the same father of the infant girl in the Washington County Case.

Ms. Dillard-Lubin was sentenced to four to six months in jail and when she was released she transferred her probation to Oregon. Up until the time of her arrest, Ms. Dillard-Lubin worked as a medical assistant for Oregon Pediatrics. She has minimal medical training and is not a licensed nurse. Wednesday, Ms. Dillard-Lubin was indicted on several charges stemming from the assault on her child. She was arraigned today at 10:30 a.m. at the main court house located at 150 N. 1st Avenue.

City flags lowered to honor slain child

 

http://www.thebeenews.com/news/story.php?story_id=124388076300807700

The Portland Tribune, Jun 1, 2009, Updated Jun 1, 2009

Flags around Portland will be lowered to half-staff in honor of 4-year-old Eldon Jay Rebhan Smith, who drowned during the early morning of May 23 after being forced off the Sellwood Bridge into the Willamette River.

Portland city flags will be lowered to half-staff to honor 4-year-old Eldon Jay Rebhan Smith, who drowned May 23 after he and his sister were forced off the Sellwood Bridge.  Smith Family Picture Given To The Bee

Portland city flags will be lowered to half-staff to honor 4-year-old Eldon Jay Rebhan Smith, who drowned May 23 after he and his sister were forced off the Sellwood Bridge. Smith Family Picture Given To The Bee

The boy’s mother, 31-year-old Amanda Jo Stott-Smith, has been charged with murder and attempted murder in the case. She was accused of forcing her two children — Eldon and his 7-year-old sister — off the bridge at about 1:20 a.m. The girl survived and is home with her father in Eugene after spending nearly a week at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.  (If you remember I did a post on this case in an earlier blog, Oregon Department of Human Services had received previous reports on this mother, you can see the news report at: http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/124348111538110.xml&coll=7 )

Stott-Smith is due back in Multnomah County Circuit Court Wednesday morning for a preliminary hearing.

Family and friends said goodbye to Eldon Sunday afternoon during a memorial service at the Eugene Faith Center.

Portland’s City Council approved a resolution in April to lower the city’s flag in honor of children who die from abuse, neglect or homicide. This is the first time a flag has been lowered to honor a victim.

“I am devastated to lower the city flag, but I hope that by honoring Eldon this way, we can bring awareness to the untimely deaths of our community’s children,” said City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who sponsored April’s resolution.

The city flag will be lowered once a month on the day that corresponds to the number of deaths from the previous month.

Survivor of fall from Sellwood Bridge ready to go home

 

The lawyer for the girl’s father says he is buoyed by his 7-year-old daughter’s strength

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/124348111538110.xml&coll=7

Thursday, May 28, 2009

MAXINE BERNSTEIN

The Oregonian Staff

HILLSBORO — The 7-year-old girl who survived Saturday’s plunge from the Sellwood Bridge into the Willamette River is running around and playing, the lawyer for the girl’s father said Wednesday.

She also said the girl might be released from the hospital anytime.

Laura Schantz, the attorney for Jason F. Smith, the girl’s father, said he and his family also have been telling the girl that she was not to blame for what happened.

“They’re trying to reassure her how much they loved her, how much they loved Eldon,” her 4-year-old brother, said Schantz, who spoke to reporters Wednesday outside her Hillsboro office on Smith’s behalf. He did not attend the gathering.

The mother, Amanda Stott-Smith, 31, is in custody facing allegations of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder. She’s accused of pushing or throwing the girl and her brother off the Sellwood Bridge, sending the children about 75 feet into the cold Willamette River about 1:20 a.m. Saturday.

David Haag, who lives in a floating home downstream from the bridge, and a companion rescued the girl after hearing loud moans in the river. They also pulled her brother, Eldon Jay Rebhan Smith, into the boat, but he had died.

Schantz said she didn’t know the extent of the girl’s injuries, but added that the girl does know about her brother’s death. She also said the family is planning a private memorial that will enable out-of-state relatives to attend.

“Yesterday, his daughter and the family cried and grieved over the loss of her brother,” Schantz said.

Jason Smith is mourning the loss of his “beautiful, innocent son,” yet is buoyed by his daughter’s strength, Schantz said.

He’s committed to protecting her as she returns with him to Eugene to resume her life. He intends to work to keep her psychologically healthy and be with her “every step of the way,” Schantz said. Yet he also is afraid of being besieged by the media.

“He’s going to dedicate his life to make sure his daughter has the most normal, happy childhood she can have,” Schantz said. “He’s drawing strength from his faith in God, his family and mostly from her. She is his strength, his life and his world.”

Meanwhile on Wednesday, the principal of Meadowlark Elementary School in Eugene, where the 7-year-old attends first grade, sent a letter to parents informing them of the tragic event and providing tips on how they can help their children cope.

The school also had teachers talk to students during class about the incident, saying that the two children “somehow fell into the Willamette River” and the girl’s brother died.

“The doctors say she’s going to fully recover, but she will not be back at school for at least a few days,” teachers were instructed to tell students.

The 4-year-old had attended Living Savior Lutheran Church and Preschool in Tualatin from September through February, said Denice Hornberger, the preschool’s director.

“We’re just heartbroken about the whole business,” she said.

Helen Jung and Phillip Swarts of The Oregonian contributed to this story. Maxine Bernstein 503-221-8212; maxinebernstein@news.oregonian.com

 

Human Services had abuse report involving Stott-Smith

 

State workers are looking at files to see whether vital data were overlooked

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/124348110938110.xml&coll=7

Thursday, May 28, 2009

MICHELLE COLE

The Oregonian Staff

SALEM — The Department of Human Services had received at least one report within the past year of suspected child abuse involving Amanda Jo Stott-Smith and her children.

Citing the ongoing criminal investigation and confidentiality issues, state child welfare officials would not discuss their past involvement with the family. But Human Services Director Bruce Goldberg has ordered an internal review of the agency’s contact with Stott-Smith to determine whether workers missed warning signs and where the department might need to improve.

“What I can tell you is we did not have an open case with the family prior to the incident itself,” Erinn Kelley-Siel, head of the state Children, Adults and Families Division, said Wednesday.

Stott-Smith, 31, is being held by Multnomah County on charges of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder. Authorities believe she forced her two young children off Portland’s Sellwood Bridge early Saturday morning.

Her 4-year-old son, Eldon Jay Rebhan Smith, drowned. His 7-year-old sister survived the fall and more than a half hour in the chilly Willamette River. The Oregonian is not naming the girl because she’s a juvenile victim.

The review team, which met for the first time Wednesday and includes top agency management as well as local law enforcement officials, will investigate the agency’s contacts with Stott-Smith and her children.

The goal, Kelley-Siel said, is to “learn what we now wish we had known. Or, is there something about our practice that we need to change?”

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 21 similar reviews since Gov. Ted Kulongoski called for more scrutiny and accountability of the child welfare system in 2004.

The state receives thousands of suspected abuse reports each year. In 2008, workers fielded 65,460 calls reporting suspected child abuse. Of those, 27,485 were investigated, and officials confirmed 10,421 Oregon children were victims of abuse or neglect.

Michelle Cole: 503-294-5143; michellecole@news.oregonian.com

What you dont know will hurt your family.

 

A CPS story about a family torn apart from lies.

 

http://my.kidjacked.com/naiveinnocence/

 

Introduction

March 27th, 2009

I am in my first week of falling down Alice’s Rabbit hole in the CPS disaster.

Here  is my story. Please read it, I will update you later on. We find out today at some time, if we get our kids back.

I highly recommend reading this blog, it gives you an inside view of what it feels like to be unlawfully investigated by CPS.

House bill seeks to protect Oregon kids adopted outside U.S.

 

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/05/house_bill_seeks_to_protect_or.htmlby

Michelle Cole and Susan Goldsmith, The Oregonian

Friday

SALEM — Nobody mentioned Adrianna Cram’s name during Friday’s short House floor debate on a bill requiring more scrutiny when a child from Oregon foster care is sent to live with relatives in another country.

But the legislative sponsor, Rep. Carolyn Tomei, admitted later that she “definitely” had the murdered little girl from Hillsboro on her mind.

“There needs to be more follow-up and much more stringent supervision of each child that goes anywhere,” said Tomei, D-Milwaukie.

 Lawmakers unanimously approved House Bill 3471, which would require specific adoption agreements when a child in Oregon foster care is adopted by relatives outside the United States.

According to the Oregon Department of Human Services, those agreements would include extensive background interviews and training for relatives before a child is sent to live in another country. Once the child is there, the agreements would require regular checks and written reports to Oregon officials until the adoption is final.

 The state had no agreement in place in June 2005, when 4-year-old Adrianna Cram was beaten to death in Omealca, Mexico. Her uncle and aunt, selected by Oregon authorities to adopt the girl, were convicted of aggravated murder.

Adrianna’s teachers would later tell The Oregonian that they tried for months to find help for the bruised and battered girl but couldn’t get local child welfare workers to act. Meanwhile, child welfare workers in Oregon relied on phone calls with the girl’s abusers and sporadic updates from Mexican authorities to find out how Adrianna was faring.

In March, as The Oregonian prepared a two-day series telling Adrianna’s story, child welfare officials announced a 60-day moratorium on international adoptions.

Officials said they needed the time to consult with the U.S. State Department about what Oregon needed to do to comply with The Hague Convention on Protection of Children.

The international treaty, which took effect last year, is intended to protect children from abuse or exploitation.

 On Friday, Erinn Kelley-Siel, head of the state Children, Adults and Families Division, said Oregon is ready to be one of the first states to comply with the treaty.

For example, the state will now require national authorities, not just local offices, to certify that a family is suitable for a specific child, has the appropriate motivation and has received training or counseling.

Oregon had been on track to end its moratorium on international adoptions May 8. But the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico and elsewhere has prompted the state to extend its moratorium indefinitely.

“We don’t plan to lift the hold until we have the ability to say we’re not putting a child’s health at risk,” Kelley-Siel said Friday.

If a child taken into foster care cannot be returned to a parent, state law requires authorities to place the child with relatives whenever possible. Increasingly, that includes relatives who live outside the United States.

From 1999 through 2008, Oregon placed 27 children in foster care for adoption in other countries. Eight children from Oregon foster care have been sent to Mexico since Adrianna’s death. Five more children were slated to go to Mexico at the time the 60-day moratorium was announced.

Adrianna’s biological mother, Tausha Cram, who lost custody of the little girl because she neglected her, said the bill didn’t do enough.

“I think it’s outrageous that even with this bill we will be relying 100 percent on authorities in other countries to protect children from Oregon,” she said. “These people failed my child. Why will they protect anyone else’s kid?”

The Legislature is not finished with its work on international adoption. HB3471 now heads to the Senate for its consideration, and a companion bill is pending in the Senate.

– Michelle Cole; michellecole@news.oregonian.com

MY COMMENT ON THE SITE:

Posted by Lawdoll on 05/02/09 at 12:04PM

CPS cannot even protect the children that live a block from their office! Children in America are dying because of CPS’s inability to perform their jobs as required by law…they break the laws that are already in place in this country, they lie, commit perjury, forge and falsify documents, fail to investigate reports of abuse…behave in illegal and unethical manners…so why in God’s name do you believe that this law will protect children place in other countries, when the laws we already have in place for these child do not now protect them??? They will just violate and break this law, the same as they do any other…

Adrianna is dead because Oregon CPS placed her in Mexico and then did not bother to see how she was doing!!!! They washed their hands of her, the same as they do of many other children…they sent her out of the country and then used the excuse that she was out of the country to defend themselves from wrong doing in her death…bunch of BS.

No foster child needs to leave this country…they are legal residents…they should be placed here…period! You want to protect children…start by making laws that hold CPS accountable for their wrong doings…send them to jail when children die because of their negligence.

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