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Tag Archives: California child protective services

 

HANDWRITING COMPARISON and Lies Exposed

Real Safety Assessment V. Falsified, Fake Safety Assessment and Irrefutable Proof of Wilkes County DSS Lies, Illegal Activities, Threats, Retaliation, and Unethical Behavior

 

By Lawdoll

An in-depth comparison of the only real DSS safety assessment Allison S. Baker ever conducted about us versus the fabricated, falsified, and forged safety assessment that Allison S. Baker created to make it appear she had performed her duties as required by law.  I have included pictures of the documents in question.  Also contains some of the lies and documentation that proves those lies, threats, illegal and unethical behavior, and intimidation.


The first thing that needs to be stated is that we reported the mother for abuse and neglect on August 15, 2006 and the report was accepted that same day.  We were not the only persons who reported this mom, there was another report of abuse received and accepted on August 10, 2006, that we did not make.  Allison Baker was assigned to our report August 16, 2006, but she did not begin investigating the abuse and neglect until the middle of October.

The retaliatory “child abuse and neglect” report that was used as the excuse to begin an investigation on us October 25, 2006, was received by Surry County DSS (the county we reside in) on August 16, 2006.  This report was made the same day the mother was informed during mediation that we had made a report of abuse against her.

Surry County DSS screened this report out because, IT DID NOT MEET THE STATUTORY DEFINITION OF ABUSE OR NEGLECT, required to initiate an investigation.

Wilkes County DSS, apparently, after we complained about them in late October, obtained this report from Surry County DSS, over two months later, and screened it in.

The first time Allison Baker even hinted at investigating us, and I had contact with her constantly, was during a phone call on October 25, 2006.  During that phone call, Allison Baker began asking me a lot of questions, such as social security numbers and the like.

This call is recorded so I can prove that this is the date that she began investigating us.

This vindictive investigation, which began precisely two days after I called Phyllis Fulton in Raleigh and complained about the Wilkes County Department of Social Services and their failure to perform their duties as prescribed by law and protect my stepdaughter, supports our assertion that it was began as a means to discredit, intimidate, and malciously prosecute us in retaliation of our valid complaints against them.

When we met with Allison Baker October 27, 2006, she had in her possession this screened out report from Surry County DSS, which said idiotic things:

  • Trees growing in our gutters
  • Poison Ivy in the yard
  • Dirty dishes in the sink
  • My stepdaughter woke up with a rat on her chest

Absolutely crazy stuff like that.

Allison Baker had already seen video of our home, which documented August 4, 2006, and up, and remarked about how clean it was and how nice our daughter’s room was.

Furthermore, if she had already performed a Safety Assessment on us August 17, 2006, why would she need to ask all of these questions, which should have been asked when she performed the safety assessment? 

She had never performed a safety assessment, she had never been to our home and did not come to our home until December 9, 2006.

She NEVER went to the mother’s home, who our report of abuse was on, until the middle or end of October either!  We know this, because the mother moved in September 06, but the only house Allison ever visited was her new residence. Remember our report of abuse was made and accepted August 15, 2006.  I am positive if a comprehensive investigation was conducted falsified documents and forgeries would be found concerning the biological mom, and the other daughters father and stepmom as well.

A significant fact that must be noted is, if our house was this bad, then why was an investigation never commenced about the 3 children that LIVED in our home FULL TIME? 

Neither Wilkes County DSS, nor Surry County DSS ever opened an investigation or case on us concerning the 3 children who lived in our home 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

These 3 children are not mentioned on any of the paperwork, safety assessments, risk assessments, case plan, nothing.  The three children living in our home were never talked to, or interviewed, nor was any CPS Assessement or investigaion of any form ever conducted regarding them… period. 

Although according to North Carolina DSS Policy they were supposed to.

 Based on N.C.G.S. § 7B-302 (b), all children living in the home, in a non-institutional setting, shall be considered as alleged victim children when there is any allegation of abuse, neglect or dependency. Therefore, initiation of a CPS Assessment includes face-to-face interviews with all children living in the home.”

There is ample evidence that proves the sole purpose of the Wilkes County Department of Social Services investigation of us was far outside the scope of their duties, and a complete abuse of their power. 

Wilkes County DSS abused their power and unlawfully and maliciously targeted us as a means to discredit our valid complaints against Wilkes County DSS, to intimidate us, to shut us up and to cover up WCDSS’s failure to perform their duties by law and protect a child that was being abused and neglected by her mother.

Wilkes County DSS threatened us with foster care for my stepdaughter, thereby ensuring our compliance with their law breaking, through intimidation.  We had no choice but to comply with their illegal and unethical activities, it was abundantly clear that to do otherwise meant having the child, WE WERE NEITHER ABUSING OR NEGLECTING, needlessly placed into foster care.

Even when faced with overwhelming evidence of abuse and neglect my stepdaughter and her sister were enduring by their mother’s hand…  (Not my husband’s or the father of her other child), the Wilkes County Department of Social Services, ignored that evidence and instead focused solely on discrediting and persecuting us.

They ignored the mother’s noncompliance, lies, and the abuse and neglect of two little girls, so they could teach us a lesson, for speaking out about their initial failure to investigate an accepted report of abuse in the manner and time constraints required by law.

Wilkes County Department of Social Services instituted a malicious investigation against us, without good cause, they falsified records, forged my husband’s signature, discriminated against my husband for being male and the father, lied in assessments and their records, lied to the judge, the psychologist, threatened and intimidated us, abused their power, and neglected their legally duty.

 And then when all of their lies, fabrications, threats and intimidation, illegal and unethical behavior still failed to give them ammunition against us, and after, wrongly and illegally, trying to substantiate against us for serious emotional neglect, they created a new type of neglect and substantiated against us for that.  Injurious environment, parent’s inability to get along, a finding that does not even exist, a finding so far removed from the statutory definition of any type of abuse or neglect that it should have been found invalid the moment they used it, a finding that is so vague that every person in the world could be substantiated against for it.

With the evidence that we have, that proves what Wilkes County DSS did to us, my stepdaughter, her sister and her sister’s father and stepmom, the fact that not one government official will do anything demonstrates the lack of total accountability DSS faces, even when they commit felonious criminal acts.

Handwriting Analysis

  •  This is a comparison of the handwriting on the REAL and ONLY safety assessment, dated December 9, 2006 Allison Baker ever did on me and my husband (Top) and the Fabricated, falsified, and forged one that was created to make it appear she had done one on us, when she had not, dated August 17, 2006.  You can clearly tell these are written by the same person.


  • Again, this is a comparison of the handwriting on the REAL and ONLY safety assessment, dated December 9, 2006 Allison Baker ever did on me and my husband (Top) and the Fabricated, falsified, and forged one that was created to make it appear she had done one on us, when she had not, dated August 17, 2006.  Furthermore, I have no idea where the spanking allegation came from, neither one of us had ever spanked her.  Just another lie.

 

 

 

  •  Below  this is a comparison of the signatures on the REAL and ONLY safety assessment, dated December 9, 2006 Allison Baker ever did on me and my husband (Top) and the Fabricated, falsified, and forged one (bottom) that was created to make it appear she had done one on us, when she had not, dated August 17, 2006. 
  •  I was the only one home on August 17, 2006, David was at work, I will post his work record following this comparison, and you can see for yourself that on the day in question David worked 10 hours at LP.  Note that my signature is missing, David’s signature is different on these documents, and the only ones that look the same are Allison Baker’s and Mary Henderson’s.  The signature for David in the signature section on the bottom is forgery.

David did not sign this document and this safety assessment NEVER OCCURRED.

 


 

Work Record

 

  • This is a copy of David’s work record for August 17, 2006, the day that Allison Baker claims to have performed the August 17, 2006 safety assessment on, impossible to do since David was at work for 10 hours that day. 

 

Personal Records

  • I kept meticulous records; this is the August 2006 record.  Note that we made our report August 15, 2006, but there was a previous report made August 10, 2006 on the mom that we did not make.  
  •  Note On August 15, 2006, the custody hearing was postponed, “Court postponed.  Turned Tammy in, Allison Baker assigned to case.”
  • August 16, 2006, my stepdaughter finally had an appointment with Dr. Weinstein in Wilkesboro after two cancelled dentist appointment by her mom. She had new cavities that she did not have when she saw our dentist and had two teeth extracted on July 3, 2006. Court ordered mediation orientation between David and Tammy from 3-5, this is where David informed the Mediator about our report of abuse to DSS.  Special Note…  After this meeting is when Tammy made the report of abuse about us to Surry County, it was received August 16, 2006.  August 17, 2006 The ONLY note on this date is about my stepdaughter’s sister not being seen by the dentist again!  No visit to our home by Allison Baker, no safety assessment, nada.
  • Also, note the continuous missed dentist appoints by both girls in their mothers care. In addition, note my contact with our insurance company verifying how much they would pay toward fixing my stepdaughters teeth.  We had insurance.  On August 11, I talked to the moms Medicaid worker who informed me that my stepdaughters Medicaid expired July 31, 2006…after having it continuously for her entire life.  (What a coincidence) Debbie Perry also informed me that the mom had never turned in David’s insurance information and that she was reporting her for Medicaid fraud.


Other Signatures

Scanned copy of David and my organ donation cards that we signed in 2004.  Please note David’s signature on both.  David has never signed his full last name the entire, almost 12 years I have known him.  I even have his high school senior shirt from 1998 and it is the same on it as it is here, just a little scribble.

  • Below David’s signature on his driver’s license issued in 1999.

 

 

  • David’s signature on his driver’s license, 10 years later this driver’s license was issued on November 17, 2009.  David has consistently signed his last name the same way for years…he does not write out his last name, but makes some form of N swoop.

 

  • David’s signature on the “In Home Family Services Agreement” signed January 1, 2008.

 

(I changed my mind about Linda Brookes after reading the lies she wrote to Judge Byrd)

I can and have consistently proven that the signature on the safety assessment dated August 17, 2006 is not David’s. 

I have consistently shown and proven that David has signed his name the same way throughout his entire adult life.

I have also shown that the handwriting on both documents is consistent with Allison Baker’s, and that the signatures of Allison Baker and Mary Henderson match on both documents. 

It is obvious and clear that either Mary Henderson or Allison Baker forged David’s signature on the falsified safety assessment. 

There is more than adequate evidence to support that this safety assessment never occurred. 

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

First, we have David’s work record showing that on August 17, 2006, he was at work for 10 hours at LP.

Then, according to North Wilkesboro Police Detective, Chris Handy, there is the absence of our name and information on Allison Baker’s Worker Daily Report of Services to Clients, form DSS 4263.

The DSS 4263 form is required to be filled out daily and turned in weekly and records every service and activity performed, for payment and is absolutely, necessary for federal reimbursement.  Not only is this document required, it must be certified by the worker.  The fact that our name does not appear on the DSS 4263 form alone is proof enough.

When you combined the two, you have irrefutable, documented evidence that for this safety assessment document to exist a felony was committed…because it did not come into existence under legal means.

Since this safety assessment was fabricated, proving who forged David’s signature is not necessary in order to prosecute Allison Baker, Mary Henderson, or other personnel at the Wilkes County Department of Social Services who may have had knowledge of its creation or participated in covering it up after the fact.

Why, in spite of all of this evidence and documentation, charges were dropped against Allison Baker in this case…CITING not enough evidence,  could it be because her grandfather, Glenn  Johnson, was a Wilkesboro Commissioner for 26 years?  

And why charges were never brought against Mary Henderson should be a matter of deep concern, as well?

Furthermore, why has an investigation about the conduct of the Wilkes County Department of Social Services in regards to us, and in the face of this evidence NEVER OCCURRED?

Why, in spite of all of this evidence and documentation, charges were dropped against Allison Baker in this case…CITING not enough evidence, and why charges were never brought against Mary Henderson should be a matter of deep concern, as well.

Frankly, when you considered the fact that the former, Wilkes County DSS Director, James (Donnie) Bumgarner and the current Director, Bill Sebastian were and are aware of this and have been since it occurred, alarm bells should be ringing loudly in your head. 

Tellingly, neither one has asked local or state law enforcement to conduct an investigation.

 Neither one has removed the substantiation against us that was based on the lies, false documents, forgeries, illegal and ethical behavior; it should make anyone reading this question their motives for allowing such a travesty to continue.

 I believe Donnie Bumgarner was involved in this forgery and falsification and/or at the very least, covered it up.

In fact, many government officials were contacted about this issue and all of them failed or refused to do anything.

People who have been made aware of this illegal and unethical behavior include.

  • Renae Steele, Caseworker, Wilkes County Department of Social Services
  • Nikki Hull, Caseworker, Surry County Department of Social Services
  • Linda Brookes, Caseworker, Wilkes County Department of Social Services
  • Mary Henderson, CPS supervisor, Wilkes County DSS
  • Sonya Freeman, CPS supervisor, Wilkes County DSS
  • Donnie Bumgarner, Former Director, Wilkes County DSS
  • Bill Sebastian, Current Director, Wilkes County DSS
  • Dr. James D. Powell, (who went right along with DSS’ lies)
  • Matthew Levchuk, Assistant District Attorney, Wilkes County (who believed the lies told to him by Wilkes County DSS)
  • Charles F. Bauer, Assistant District Attorney, Wilkes County (who dismissed the charges against Allison Baker for lack of evidence.)
  • Keith Elmore, Wilkes County DSS Board Chair
  • Rudy Holbrooke, Wilkes County DSS Board member
  • Ken Noland, Town Manager, Wilkesboro, NC
  • Lanier Cansler, North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary
  • Dempsey Benton, Former North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary
  • Sherry Bradsher, North Carolina DSS director
  • Joann Lamm, North Carolina DSS Deputy Director
  • Ellen Thomas-Pullen, Child Welfare Services Consultant
  • Former North Carolina Governor, Mike Easley
  • North Carolina Governor, Bev Purdue
  • Chris Downing, Region IV Director
  • Carlis V. Williams, Region IV Administrator
  • Ruth Parker, Regional Program Manager, Region IV, Administration for Children and Families

And many others.

Not one of these people did anything about the law breaking, discrimination, malicious persecution of me and my husband for trying to protect a child…, which WAS the only thing we did.

Not one of these people stood up and tried to enforce the laws of this state, nor did any of them take any steps to protect these children by ensuring that the Wilkes County Department performed its statutory duty.

Not one of these people cared about the children who were being harmed while WCDSS continually harassed us, persecuted us, violated welfare policy and broke the law.  NOT ONE!

Even when faced with the damning evidence I have shown in this document, these people ignored it and allowed this travesty to continue.

Honestly, if these government officials were upstanding, honest, people you would think that when faced with this type of evidence they would do what is right or at the very least ask for an investigation.

The only person who tried to stand up for what is right and enforce the law was Chris Handy, North Wilkesboro Police Detective (who tried to seek justice, but was blocked by ADA Bauer)

We did not do the things that Wilkes County DSS lied about.

Threats

When we stood up to them, my life was threatened on www.gowilkes.com, a public forum.

  • You best be glad you live out of the county.
  • I know what your “REAL NAME” is.
  • Be careful and don’t cut your own throat.
  • You will be dealt with, and just as the same in your case, this is the “END”!

And still nothing was done! 

Then after my stepdaughter’s mother died, on the same public forum, another person who clearly worked at Wilkes County Department of Social Services accused me of killing her.

This person also talked about statutory protected confidential DSS information, for even if it is not true, it is still confidential.

Again, nothing was done.

We are the victims in a series of crimes committed by The Wilkes County Department of Social Services and the fact that no one will step up and do what is right, just enables WCDSS to continue to break the law and do this to other people.

Investigation Needed

An investigation desperately needs to occur in this case…and the wrong that has been done to us corrected… in order for that to happen, an extensive examination of the department and persons involved must be conducted.

  • First and foremost, my husband and I must have access to the Wilkes County case file on us, so that we can view the contents and expose the lies, forgeries, and unethical documents, notes, and assessments, among other things, that are hidden behind the confidentiality laws that protect DSS case files from view, even when they have broken the law.
  • The Wilkes County Department of Social Services and its DSS board members need to be investigated.
  • The substantiation against us needs to be removed and our names cleared.
  • The Wilkes County District Attorney’s conduct and refusal to prosecute, despite having adequate evidence to do so, needs to be investigated.
  • Charges need to be pressed against the person/persons who committed these crimes.
  • Most importantly, Charges need to be press against the Wilkes County DSS for failing to protect these two little girls.

To be clear

The Wilkes County Department of Social Services, in retaliation for our criticism about their unscrupulous conduct and dereliction of statutory mandated duties to protect children, invented a reason to investigate us, and created a fictitious abuse and neglect case against us, with the intention of discrediting, intimidating, and silencing us. 

When their harassing and vindictive, examination of us failed to uncover any abuse, neglect, or dependency being committed by us, they conjured a statutory nonexistent neglect finding out of thin air, so they could cruelly, spitefully, and callously brand us as child abusers.

After WCDSS vindictively substantiated against us, they continued their unlawful, harassing, and needless invasion in our lives forcing us to comply with whatever they “recommended” by threatening to place my stepdaughter into foster care if we bulked.

Some of the lies

They created an In Home Family Services Agreement that contained ignorant and useless findings, which did not remotely meet the definition of abuse, neglect, or dependency.

  1. 1.  David was to provide basic insurance as directed by the child support agency, so cost would not be a reason to deny dental care.
  • When her mother neglected her dental care, and allowed her teeth to get so decayed that two of them had to be extracted, David had insurance on his daughter, the mother had insurance on her, and the mother had her on N.C. Medicaid.  Lack of insurance was not the reason her mother denied her dental care.  Neglect by her mother was the reason for the denial of dental care!
  • Not having insurance is not neglect or abuse, but besides that point, the only reason David did not have insurance on his daughter at this time was because he had lost his job, because of DSS, and their inability to attend appointments, for example:
  • When we were scheduled to meet at Dr. Powell’s for the “evaluation” meeting, DSS did not show up so it had to be rescheduled.  David had to take off for the meeting because of DSS negligence to attend, then turn around and take off again for the rescheduled appointment, that DSS, specifically Renae Steele was an hour and a half late to.
  • DSS was order by Judge Byrd after he was notified that we had made a report of abuse, to submit their findings to him.  DSS, failed to investigate the reported abuse in the manner prescribed by law for 2 and a half months, then drug their feet for almost 2 years.  David would have to miss work to go to court, only to have it postponed because DSS had not sent the Judge their findings.
  1. 2.  David and I were required to make the child custody exchanges that were taking place “be as amicable as possible, with no heated exchanges.
  •  David and I always made the exchanges as “amicable” as possible.  When the mother screamed, yelled, and cussed at us, we did not even respond.  We recorded the custody exchanges to ensure that the mother could not lie about our behavior and to document hers.  DSS ignored this proof and lied about us.
  • Heated exchanges, bitterness, and verbal hostility are not abuse or neglect furthermore, David I NEVER engaged in them, proven by recorded phone calls and video recordings of the exchanges.
3.  The parents were required to take the girls to counseling. 
  • First, David and I had been trying to get counseling for his daughter for years, because of the abuse and neglect concerns we had in regards to her mother’s treatment of her.
  •  Second, Dr. Powell their own “Forensic Psychologist” said the girls did not need counseling.
 The entire In Home Family Services Agreement was a complete and total sham of statutorily insufficient findings, a ruse for their continued illegal involvement in our lives.

Furthermore, they lied in the Strengths and Needs Assessments, the Risk Assessments saying that “minimally participated in pursuing objectives in service agreement”.  This is an outright lie.  WE always complied with anything and everything that they asked us to do. Even with the knowledge that they were illegally persecuting us. Further lies include:

  • For the Risk Reassessment dated 11-07-07 it states as a reason for Discretionary override: “age and previous report static but not pursuing all goals outlined in cft of 9-11-07”…there was no cft on 9-11-07, or 11-07-07 the cft wasn’t completed until 1-08-08 two months later.
  • On this assessment we had a total score of 3, mainly just because of this lie.  This is just them trying to justify leaving this case open against welfare policy.
  • They use the same override reason on 3-27-08, but in this one they do not mark R8 and R9 with (b) Minimal participation in pursuing objectives in service agreement…….1…So I guess basically the only reason it was left open then is my husband’s age.  Under 29…we had a 1 on this reassessment.

Then suddenly, out of the blue, they closed the case even though the one and only circumstance that had to be met to “keep the child out of foster care” according to the In Home Family Services Agreement, had not been met.  It was so important for my stepdaughter to go to counseling that they threatened foster care if she did not, but then closed the case before the required 3 sessions, THAT THEY REQUIRED, had been completed. 

This speaks volume to their true intent and purpose.

We then received a letter from Linda Brooks that stated:

MONITORING HER CARE FROM HER MOTHER!

This letter from Linda Brooks is a direct contradiction to the one that she wrote, that same day, May 14, 2008, to Judge Byrd, in that letter, Linda Brookes lies about the entire situation, case, and us.

Letter to Judge Byrd page 1 and 2

Conclusion

From beginning to end, every step that the Wilkes County Department of Social Services made in our case was either, illegal, unethical, untrue, or in violation of statutory law.

Since the entire case was based on falsified, forged documents, lies, as well as unlawful and unethical conduct, any substantiation or case decision reached by them is unduly prejudicial and fatally tainted. 

A decision based on lies, is a lie itself, for the truth cannot be discovered with lies.

Wilkes County Department of Social Services behavior in our case denotes a willful, malicious, and conscious intent to deceive, invent, and lie in order to harass, harm, intimidate, and discredit us.  Their persecution of us was a calculated, deliberate, and purposeful act, a wanton abuse of power that served no legal purpose.

Our case is so illegally tainted with lies, fabrication, embellishments, falsified and forged documents that it is wholly unreliable, and should be considered a work of fiction.  The only truth that could ever be ascertained from the Wilkes County DSS file on us is that it is necessary to verify the corruption in this case.

Allowing the substantiation against us to remain, in view of this indisputable evidence, is a travesty of justice.

Failing to seek prosecution of these criminals, allows them to continue to operate in this unlawful manner, puts families at risk, and endangers the lives of children.  Failing to take legal action against the Wilkes County Department of Social Services enforces their belief, as evidenced by their behavior in our case, that they are untouchable, above the law, and can do whatever they want because they will never be held accountable for their crimes.

They will do it again…if they have not already, and eventually a child is going to lose their life because of the rampant, unchecked, corruption of Wilkes County DSS.

 The unjustified treatment and criminal manner in which we were subjected to has left a scar on our lives.  The bogus, unlawful substantiation placed on us can prevent us from working in a daycare, or with children, prevent us from adopting or being foster parents…it can and does impinge on our lives.

 To allow this illicit, unethical, and fictitious case and phony finding to remain against us, despite the overwhelming facts attesting our innocence in this matter, harms not only us, but also the entire community and damages the public trust in Child Protective Services.

If CPS is permitted to behave in this manner without consequences, or accountability, why would anyone trust them to protect children?

Wilkes County Department of Social Services has proven with this contemptible behavior that they are unreliable, untrustworthy, criminal, and corrupted; they are more concerned with protecting themselves then the children of Wilkes County.

It would injudicious and foolish to assume that our family has been the sole victim of their corruption.

*This document does not contain everything that happened, I have complete documentation and records of everything that occurred, if you received this via email then those records are attached, if you are seeing this one line then those documents are below this posting.

I have other evidence that proves our claim, if I have emailed this to you, that evidence is attached.  If you are reading this one line, then that evidence is below this posting.  I have not finished uploading all the phone calls on to my computer, but when I do, they too will be sent or posted.

You can see the rest of this story and more documentation at Wilkes County Department of Social Services Failure to Protect my Stepdaughter

In an interview with NBC 17 on Thursday, Johnston County Sheriff, Steve Bizzell spoke out about what he sees as the willful failure of the Johnston County DSS, on-call social workers, to respond to calls from the Sheriff’s department to help children in need.

According to Sheriff Bizzell, this “total disregard for public safety” has been occurring for over a year.

“As Sheriff, I’m going to do my job.  Enough’s enough, I’m sick of it, its disgusting and I’m not going to tolerate it anymore.”

“If the Johnston County Social Workers on call are not going to meet the needs of the Johnston County children, I’m going to be on the steps of the Governor’s mansion finding out who is going to be.”, stated Bizzell.

 

MORE

The following is a message that was left on my answering machine October 24, 2006.

Hal Wilson to Phyllis Fulton  <<<< Click this link to hear.  (left on my answering machine)

*I did remove the child’s name from this audio recording!

In it Oscar Howard “Hal” Wilson III,  a Social Worker Supervisor at the Wilkes County Department of Social Services called our home, believing that he was calling Phyllis Fulton in Raleigh. During his lengthy message to Ms. Fulton, which he left on our home answering machine, he released my name as the reporter, the child’s name, and basically admitted that it was improbable the child received all of these bruises from a haunted ‘hay ride, but…’ He also said that they were going to advise me to make another report. A report that I was later criticized for making.

The level of incompetence required to make this phone call and then leave this message is astounding..  

First, “Hal” had to dial the wrong number,  Phyllis Fulton’s area code is 919, mine is 336, a huge difference.  Mr Wilson should have realized he was dialing a local number,  since Wilkes County’s area code is also 336.

Next, my answering machine, at the time, clearly indicated that “you have reached the Nixon family“.  NOT Phyllis Fulton at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Third, Hal then proceeds to break the law.  He releases the child’s name, (which I removed from this copy of the recording) then the reporters name on MY ANSWERING MACHINE.  

Hal Wilson had no clue who he was talking to, no idea who would hear this message.

But as a social worker supervisor, he should have!

Finally, He admits, “We kind of surmised, after hearing the child had been out on a hayride, we thought well maybe she could  have gotten some bruising from that although its improbable but the child’s age was taken into consideration….”

The last time I checked, which hasn’t been long, the North Carolina General Statutes does not say that DSS and the Director are only required to investigate and accept reports, where the child is saying something “adverse” has happened to them.  

Nor does it say that DSS is allowed to listen to the concerns of the reporter and just ASSUME that the bruises or injuries happened in an accident.

…and that is not what he says here, he basically admits that it is improbable that she received the bruises on the “hay ride” but they chose not to investigate the report based on their own conclusions, without ever talking to the child or viewing the bruises! (it wasn’t a “hay ride” at all, but a haunted trail, that she was carried through by her daddy…and no injuries occurred there! DSS was informed of this at the time of the report!) 

Of course, Hal’s statement in this phone call does not say that they believe “the child received the bruises by accidental means, Hal’s statement in this phone call says, although we believe it is improbable that this child received the bruises during a “hayride”, we aren’t going to investigate this report. 

So they believed that this child received these bruises some other way, other than a hayride, possibly from abuse, but they were not going to investigate it because the child DID NOT state she was being abused!

…and while the child had not stated that anything adverse had happened to her, she had not stated that anything adverse HAD NOT happened to her either!

I did not question her about the bruises, because I did not want to take the chance that DSS would then say that I coached her, or put ideas into her head!

I did what I was told to do, if the child came to our home with unexplained bruises I was supposed to call Allison Baker, which I did, but she refused to come to our home and talk to the child and see the bruises…and instead told me to call the “on call worker”, who refused the report.

In the letter that I received explaining why the report was not accepted, the reasons given is, “the child is nine years old and is not stating that anything adverse has happened to her.”

Refusal does not fit the criteria required for the report to have been screened out and not investigated.

It further states “Allegations do not meet CPS criteria”

Yet according to Chapter VIII:Protective Services 1407 – STRUCTURED INTAKE  a report of abuse is supposed to be screened using the following tools, (I have placed only the ones that apply to this case here) : 

VI. MALTREATMENT SCREENING TOOL AND PROCEDURES

The purpose of the screening tools is to determine which reports meet the legal definitions of abuse, neglect and dependency and to aid in achieving consistency in regards to the screening of CPS reports.

Which cases: The screening tools are to be utilized with every CPS report received in order to determine whether the allegations meet the legal definitions of abuse, neglect and dependency. If the information received meets the legal definitions; a CPS assessment is required. This includes telephone calls and all other means of referral, and includes information on new families and families already known to the agency; whether or not a case is open to CPS Assessments/Investigations, CPS In-Home Services or Child Placement Services.
Who: Every staff member who has the responsibility for CPS intake.
Decision: Screening tools determine whether the report should be accepted for CPS assessment. This is a joint decision made with the CPS Intake social worker and the supervisor.
When: Screening tools are consulted immediately upon receipt of the report.
Appropriate Consultation: Please refer to the definitions page for each screening tool. The tools correspond with the abuse, neglect and dependency statutes. The corresponding screening tools for abuse reports include: physical injury, cruel/grossly inappropriate behavior modification, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and moral turpitude. The corresponding tools for neglect reports include: improper care, improper supervision, improper discipline, abandonment, improper medical/remedial care, injurious environment, and illegal placement/adoption. The directions provide case examples but are not all-inclusive. It is impossible to account for all incidences of child abuse, neglect and dependency. These tools are guidelines to assist in the decision making process. The social worker should consult each tool as it corresponds to the allegations. Every allegation made by the reporter requires an examination of the corresponding screening tool. It is likely that a reporter will allege maltreatment which requires an examination of multiple screening tools. It is crucial to evaluate each allegation based on the statutory definitions of abuse, neglect and dependency, and consulting the Maltreatment Screening Tools serves this purpose.

A. Physical Injury Screening Tool Directions

Is the parent/caretaker causing serious non-accidental physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or impairment?

Fractures, subdural hematoma, dislocations, sprains, internal injuries, burns and inflicted injuries such as extensive welts, bruises, lacerations and abrasions would be indicative of abuse. The specific injuries listed are not intended to be an all-inclusive list, but are an indication of information that does warrant an Investigative Assessment. There may be instances where a child has bruises that do not rise to the level of abuse, but are considered improper discipline (refer to Improper Discipline Maltreatment Screening Tool), as well as situations where there may be bruising and there is no abuse or neglect. Physical abuse of a preschool aged child or a developmentally disabled child requires an immediate response.

The physically injury screening tool for use in assessing a report of physical abuse.

I. Improper Discipline Screening Tool Directions

Is the parent/caretaker using corporal punishment that results in any type of injury, cuts or extreme bruises?

...significant trauma and tissue damage, such as bruises, welts, or lacerations may be signs of child neglect (inappropriate discipline) or child abuse, depending on the extent of the injuries. Factors to consider regarding bruising include: location and severity of the injury, child’s age and developmental stage, and whether the bruises are consistent with normal play. Injuries such as these, not resulting from an accident, must be assessed. A definition of significant trauma is any injury beyond temporary redness of the skin. A practical guideline to use is that any inflicted injury which lasts more than 24 hours constitutes significant injury and requires an investigation. (PEDIATRICS, Vol. 110 No. 3, September 2002, American Academy of Pediatrics.) A reporter’s knowledge that this was the parent’s first time inflicting such an injury or that the injury is just a small bruise does not impact screening. Spanking and corporal punishment should be confined to the buttocks or legs and should not result in injury, scarring or bruising. Physical discipline that is administered to a child’s head or torso area presents a greater risk of injury. The child’s age and abilities are relevant to whether the discipline used is reasonable…”

Improper discipline screening tool for use in assessing abuse/neglect

If the appropriate response is in doubt, the social worker should respond in the most protective way.

Yet even though, Hal Wilson, thought it was improbable that the bruises occurred during a hayride, and knowing that this child had a hand shaped BRUISE on her inner thigh, and bruises on her stomach (a very dangerous area to hit) as well as other bruises…he chose to screen out this report of abuse because the child did not say she was being abused!

This is not how you investigate reports of child abuse, this is how children end up dead!

A look at the law…

§ 7B‑302.  Assessment by director; access to confidential information; notification of person making the report.

(a)        When a report of abuse, neglect, or dependency is received, the director of the department of social services shall make a prompt and thorough assessment, using either a family assessment response or an investigative assessment response, in order to ascertain the facts of the case, the extent of the abuse or neglect, and the risk of harm to the juvenile, in order to determine whether protective services should be provided or the complaint filed as a petition. When the report alleges abuse, the director shall immediately, but no later than 24 hours after receipt of the report, initiate the assessment. When the report alleges neglect or dependency, the director shall initiate the assessment within 72 hours following receipt of the report. When the report alleges abandonment, the director shall immediately initiate an assessment, take appropriate steps to assume temporary custody of the juvenile, and take appropriate steps to secure an order for nonsecure custody of the juvenile. The assessment and evaluation shall include a visit to the place where the juvenile resides, except when the report alleges abuse or neglect in a child care facility as defined in Article 7 of Chapter 110 of the General Statutes. When a report alleges abuse or neglect in a child care facility as defined in Article 7 of Chapter 110 of the General Statutes, a visit to the place where the juvenile resides is not required. When the report alleges abandonment, the assessment shall include a request from the director to law enforcement officials to investigate through the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons and other national and State resources whether the juvenile is a missing child.

(a1)      All information received by the department of social services, including the identity of the reporter, shall be held in strictest confidence by the department, except that:…”

No where in the law does it state that the department of social services is to listen to the report and then JUMP to conclusions about how the bruises occurred!

Nor does the law state that the only reports that will be accepted and investigated are those where the child is saying that someone abused them.

Furthermore, there is no age limitations for investigating a report of abuse, meaning the age of the child does not matter, they are supposed to investigate reports of abuse of any child under the age of 18, who is not married, emancipated, or a member of the armed forces.

 If DSS receives a report of abuse saying that suspected abuse is happening to a nine year old, whether that nine year old is saying it is or not, they are required by law to investigate that report.

Unexplained bruises, some of which look like a hand print fit the criteria of suspected abuse and should be accepted for CPS investigation.

That is not what happened here.

And because that did not happen here, because of the obvious incompetence of this supervisor and the Wilkes County Department of Social Services, this child was left in the care of her mother, and the abuse was allowed to continue, while DSS turned their focus to shutting us up with a malicious, unethical, and illegal investigation!

The failure of the Wilkes County Department of Social Services to protect the child in this case, especially in light of their belief that it was improbable that the bruises occurred by accidental means, constitutes willful failure to follow the laws of North Carolina and America, as well as willful failure to protect a child from abuse.

I believe that breaking the law is a criminal offense, so why haven’t these people been charged with the crimes they committed?

There may be financial help available, in North Carolina, to relatives who have opened their home and hearts to children of family members that have been removed by CPS.

If DSS has placed a child into your home, in a Kinship placement or if you have been made a legal guardian or given legal custody of a child, you may be able to apply for, and receive financial assistance through Work First.

Most applicants that qualify for Work First Family Assistance also qualify for Medicaid, this includes you, and any other eligible family members. You may also qualify to receive help with child care expenses.
 

Continue reading on Examiner.com “Child only” Work First benefits may help support child in Kinship care – Winston-Salem CPS | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/cps-in-winstonsalem/child-only-work-first-payment-may-help-support-child-kinship-care#ixzz1fapKICSU

This case out of Oklahoma is very disturbing.  Here we have a child,  8 month old Jacob “Jake” Hedger, who died in a baby sitters care, by injuries that it has been said, had to have occured within a relativity short time frame…one to two hours before, yet DHS removed the Hedger’s 5 year old son and not the baby sitters.

Jacob was at the baby sitters for 7 hours, common sense tells you that whatever happened to this child, happened there.  No charges have been filed, and the statutory disclosure, required by state and federal law has never been released in this case.  

Something is very wrong here, and amazingly, and I say amazing because normally in these case this doesn’t happen…but amazingly Rep. Jason Nelson and a task force is looking into this case to find out why the Hedger’s  son, Sam was removed and kept from them, yet the baby sitter’s (who happens to have a child roughly the same age) was not.

They are also looking into policy and law violations that may have been committed by DHS as well as a conflict of interest with the OSBI, who requested a copy of the autopsy,  because the baby sitters husband is an officer in that department.  One does have to wonder….

My heart goes out to the Hedger family, who not only tragically lost Jake, but lost precious time with their other son,  Sam, because of DHS.  The Hedger family’s grief and devastation was made even worse because of the removal and illegal keeping of Sam, by DHS.  The effect this removal had on this family is unimaginable, I am sure that grief and healing had to be put on hold, because this family had to focus on getting Sam back.  

In the story it even states that the day after Jake’s death, when the parents had visitation with Sam, these parents were told NOT to cry…not to grieve…..what a disgusting display of  the true lack of empathy and understanding DHS has for families.

 I hope with Rep. Nelson and the Task Force’s help, Jake, Sam and these parents get the justice they deserve and the closure they need, so they can move on from this horrible tragedy.  I know that the loss of Jake can never be over came, but hopefully this family can now grieve for him and begin the process of healing and cherishing the time they have with Sam, without undue government interference.

Lawdoll

DHS report to D.A. LINK

First things first, OU Medical Center Hospital Social Worker Amy Baum and Dr. Stuemky both felt that the parents did this to the baby.

DHS interview with OU Medical Center Hospital Social Worker Amy Baum

A couple of things stand out to me, first the Detective who took the children into protective custody has the same last name as one of the other children who was present at the baby sitters home.  Are they related some how?  If they are, should she be working this case?  This does not seem like a common last name to me.

Detective Misty Leitch

Seth Leitch on of the children present at the babysitters

Detective Assigned has same last name as one of the witnesses.

Edmond Police Department Indecent Report LINK

Statement of Traci Kramer (babysitter)

DHS Interview with Traci Kramer (these statements do not match)

There is also the suspicion that Traci Kramer called her OSBI husband before she called 911.  

“Suspicious to prosecutors is evidence suggesting Traci Kramer called her husband before calling 911, The Oklahoman has learned. Also, Traci Kramer did not notify Jake’s parents about their son’s emergency. They found out by happenstance.”

Furthermore Traci Kramer stated that while she was on the phone with 911, she used her home phone for someone to pick up her daughter Payton from school, but did not call Jake’s parents and inform them what was happening to him.  The excuse that was used for not notifying the parents was that the police told her not to, but what about before that?  The first impulse of any person babysitting a child, when that child gets hurt, would be to notify the parents.

  • Concerns about the day care have come up before. John Keene, 36, of Edmond, told The Oklahoman he stopped taking his daughter, then 1, there in 2005 after a series of troubling incidents including a cheek abrasion.
  • “It was one of those situations that just didn’t feel right,” Keene said. Read the rest of this article here

At 8:35 am Jacob was "happy go lucky"

DHS interview with Traci Kramer. How many naps?? I count 3. Did you know that people who have injured a child will put them down for a nap in the hopes their symptoms will go away?

Jake obviously had a severe head injury, I do not think symptoms would take 7 hours to manifest.  His skull was fractured in two places, according to the DHS report, (Left parietal fracture crossing suture line into occipital separate left parietal fracture) and he had severe swelling of the brain. ( Massive Cerebral Edema)

Mild traumatic brain injury LINK

The signs and symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury (concussion) may include:

  • Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
  • No loss of consciousness, but a state of being dazed, confused or disoriented
  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Mood changes or mood swings
  • Feeling depressed or anxious
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sleeping more than usual

Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries

Moderate to severe traumatic brain injury can include any of the signs and symptoms of mild injury, as well as the following symptoms that may appear within the first hours to days after a head injury:

  • Loss of consciousness from a few minutes to hours
  • Profound confusion
  • Agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior
  • Slurred speech
  • Inability to awaken from sleep
  • Weakness or numbness in the extremities
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of bladder control or bowel control
  • Persistent headache or headache that worsens
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
  • Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears

Children’s symptoms
Infants and young children with brain injuries may lack the communication skills to report headaches, sensory problems, confusion and similar symptoms. In a child with traumatic brain injury, you may observe:

  • Change in nursing or eating habits
  • Persistent crying
  • Unusual or easy irritability
  • Change in ability to pay attention
  • Inability to be consoled
  • Change in sleep habits
  • Sad or depressed mood
  • Loss of interest in favorite toys or activities
Some of the other disturbing statements I noticed in the DHS report.
Sam's Statement to DHS about baby sitter, "Ms. Traci"

Sam's Statement to DHS about baby sitter, "Ms. Traci"

Sam tells DHS that he feels safe with his Mom and Dad

Sam tells DHS he feels unsafe at baby sitters Ms. Traci's

Sam also reports to DHS that time out is the only form of discipline used by his parents

Why did she even ask that? Kids take baths together all the time!

Now to the article…

Oklahoma lawmaker, task force question DHS decision to remove boy from home

BY NOLAN CLAY, RANDY ELLIS AND ROBBY TRAMMELL   

Published: November 27, 2011

A legislative task force plans to look into why DHS kept a 5-year-old boy away from his parents after his baby brother died, but did not act to remove the children of the baby’s sitter.

“It just didn’t make sense to me,” said Rep. Jason Nelson, who is head of the task force looking into policies at the state Department of Human Services.

The baby, Jacob “Jake” Ryan Hedger, stopped breathing after being at the baby sitter’s home for seven hours March 8. He died the next day. He was almost 9 months old. The death has been ruled a homicide.

Jacob “Jake” Ryan Hedger

His brother, Sam Hedger, spent more than two months away from his parents, Zane and Leah Hedger.

The baby sitter, Traci Kramer, 41, has four children, including two sons, then 8 and 9, records show. DHS did close her unlicensed home day care, but did not seek removal of her own children from her home.

Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, said, “My reading of the policies and the law is that no other kid should have ever been removed. The baby sitter’s kids or the surviving brother should have not been removed.”

“It took so long to reunite the (Hedger) family that it’s really disturbing,” Nelson said. “This is a child that started to not do well in school. He was a great student. His mother is a teacher. It was really traumatic. What I’m told and understand is the injury most likely had to have occurred while at the baby sitter’s house … I’ve talked to other doctors about it, granted not forensic experts, but some emergency room doctors that have said that an injury like that would likely have had to have happened within an hour or two before she found him in that condition … None of the kids should have been removed. It’s disturbing why the one was removed.”

Sam, now 6, was taken to a shelter and then was allowed to stay with his aunt until he could return home for good. DHS workers acted to keep Sam from his parents even though a hospital social worker reported on March 9 that she and a doctor “do not think the parents did this to the baby,” according to a DHS report.

Sam’s aunt, Tammy Padgett, said being separated from his parents was traumatic from the start. She recalled Sam’s first visit with his parents at a DHS office after he was taken from his home.

“The DHS worker was late showing up, and so I’m there with him and it was the morning after Jake died and that morning I had had to tell him that his brother was dead,” she said.

“And they came up on the elevator, got off, and he ran into their arms crying,” she said. “Everybody was crying, and, then, it just dawned on me that I had signed paperwork that says I will not let them be present together without this supervisor present. So I had to yank him out of their arms and send them around the corner and everybody is bawling and waiting for this late worker to show up.

“Then the worker in … their visitation room got on to Leah because they were crying. She pulled her aside and she said, ‘This is supposed to not be teary. You’re not supposed to be crying. This is supposed to be a happy visit for him.’ And, Leah said, ‘His baby brother just died, you know, our baby just died. He’s got to process that grief.’ You know, just wacky stuff.”

Padgett said she once asked a DHS official why the baby sitter’s four children were not picked up. She said she was told: “We knew that if we picked both sets of children up, we would be 50 percent wrong.

Also traumatic for Sam was that he witnessed the baby sitter trying to revive his baby brother. Sam was at the home after spending the morning in kindergarten. He told investigators the baby sitter was worried because his brother wouldn’t wake up.

A DHS spokeswoman, Sheree Powell, said Sam was removed because of safety concerns. She said an assistant district attorney had to agree with the recommendation and a judge ordered the removal.

“We worked with the family until the concerns were resolved,” Powell said.

“Our hearts go out to the Hedgers for the tragic death of their son,” she said. “We understand their frustrations over the removal of their son.”

She did not directly address why the Kramer children were not removed. Instead, she said, “Ages and verbal abilities of children are factors in determining if safety concerns exist and whether or not children may be at risk of abuse or neglect.”

She said DHS will discuss the case with Nelson and two other legislators who had concerns.

Nelson questions whether DHS is inconsistent in its training of workers. He recalled talking this summer with a group of 15 to 18 DHS child welfare workers from across the state about how the intake process works.

“Pretty soon the whole room had melted down with disagreement,” he said.

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Read more: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-lawmaker-task-force-question-dhs-decision-to-remove-boy-from-home/article/3626763#ixzz1evQ9NNat

In less than a month two Gaston County DSS workers have been charged with DWI and subsequently terminated from their jobs at the Gaston County Department of Social Services.

The latest Gaston DSS worker to lose her job over drinking and driving is 34-year-old, Amanda Elizabeth Carrigan, of Gastonia who was charged on Thursday, October 27  at 9:11 a.m., after rear ending a Chevrolet on South Broad Street.  

According to the Gaston Gazette, Gastonia Police Officer, Lex Popovich reported in the citation “that when Carrigan spoke he could smell alcohol on her breath, “that she was unstable on her feet, and failed to do a one-leg stance.”

Continue reading on Examiner.com Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/cps-in-winstonsalem/second-gaston-dss-worker-arrested-and-fired-for-dwi#ixzz1dVQJDqdJ

Question>>>> Why hasn’t Smithen been charged for child endangerment for driving drunk with a child in the car?  Any other ordinary citizen would have been!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*This is an updated post and I do apologize, this story actually broke last year and I am playing catch up.  Please bear with me while I get back into the swing of things.

The State Bureau of Investigation completed its inquiry into the actions and conduct of the Cumberland County Department of Social Services and their handling of the Shaniya Davis case last year.  The results of the SBI’s findings left Former District Attorney, Ed Gannis, upset, disappointed in the Bureau and unable to file criminal charges against DSS.

“To say we were not happy with the quality of the SBI report would be an understatement,” Grannis told reporters. “In my 40 years, I’ve never seen anything from the SBI that bothered me this much.”

Continue reading on Examiner.com Cumberland County DSS and their handling of the Shaniya Davis case (Updated) – Winston-Salem CPS | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/cps-in-winstonsalem/cumberland-county-dss-waiting-on-results-from-sbi-investigation#ixzz1alUFKTrD

Infant’s death rekindles scrutiny of L.A. County child services agency

 

Authorities deemed Diamond Hillman’s mother fit to care for her, even though the woman’s two other children had been removed from her home. Four months later, Diamond was dead.

 

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-child-death30-2009dec30,0,7229655.story

Five months before Diamond Hillman was born last July, her two half siblings were removed from their mother’s home.

Social workers found that she had spanked her 6-year-old daughter with a belt, scrubbed her face so hard it left welts and sent her to school in diapers.

Despite that finding, and a resulting court order that the 28-year-old mother have only monitored visits with the two older children, child welfare authorities deemed her fit to care for Diamond.

The child lived just four months. She died Nov. 22, allegedly at the hands of her stepfather, a convicted batterer with whom the mother had left the baby, according to court records and a confidential child-fatality report obtained by The Times.

Her death comes amid growing public scrutiny of suspected abuse and neglect fatalities among children whose families at some point were under the supervision of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

There were 14 such deaths in 2008 and at least that many this year, though some remain under investigation, according to department officials and records recently made public under California law.

Diamond’s death is being investigated by the department, Santa Monica police and the L.A. County coroner’s office.

Many of those deaths occurred after children left the department’s watch — to return to their families after a stint in foster care or to enter the criminal justice system, records show.

But Diamond’s case calls the department’s vigilance into greater question, because she was still under its direct supervision when she was killed.

Donald Renald Hillman Jr., 33, a resident of Santa Monica and her mother’s estranged husband, has pleaded not guilty to murder and child abuse.

He is being held in lieu of $1-million bail.

The mother was not identified in the child-fatality report and has not been charged. She did not respond to a phone message left with a man at her last known address.

Shortly after Diamond’s birth, her mother told Hillman that he was not the girl’s father, “but he accepted Diamond as his child,” the report states. Although separated from Hillman, the mother left Diamond with him Oct. 4 while she met with a friend.

Hillman, who is 6 foot 1 and weighs 245 pounds, allegedly shook the infant so hard that day that she suffered retinal hemorrhaging and a traumatic brain injury.

When he brought her to a hospital emergency room in full cardiac arrest and not breathing, he told doctors the injuries were accidental.

“According to Diamond’s stepfather, Diamond was asleep in her bassinet when her two-year-old half-sibling ran into the room and somehow fell over the bassinet,” the report states.

The attending physician said that explanation didn’t jibe with the baby’s injuries, which “appeared to be the result of being shaken,” the report notes.

Doctors twice resuscitated the infant and placed her on a ventilator, Santa Monica police said. She spent the next six weeks on life support, which was removed Nov. 22, police said.

An autopsy supported the shaken-baby diagnosis and Hillman was arrested Dec. 7 after he attended Diamond’s funeral, police said.

The cause of death has been deferred pending further investigation by the coroner’s office.

“As a result of the circumstances surrounding Diamond’s death, the Department will perform a comprehensive review and analysis of our prior involvement with Diamond and her family,” the report said in part.

Social workers are trained to give extra consideration to the cases of children who are age 2 and younger, because they are considered the most vulnerable and the least likely to be observed by people outside the home.

Trish Ploehn, who heads the child welfare agency, would not say if social workers had been disciplined for their handling of Diamond’s case, but noted that such action is taken when warranted. Social worker error was a factor in 10 of the 14 deaths in 2008 among children with prior involvement with her department, Ploehn said earlier this year.

She declined to comment on circumstances surrounding Diamond’s death, which she called “a tragedy for our entire county.”

“The safety and the well-being of all children in Los Angeles County remains our highest priority,” Ploehn said in a statement.

One of the key issues under review, according to the internal report, is whether the department acted appropriately in keeping Diamond with her mother, who was still subject to monitored visitation with the older children, then 2 and 6.

Also under scrutiny is a decision by the department last February to place the 2-year-old with Hillman despite his criminal history, the report said. Hillman is the child’s biological father.

A search of Los Angeles County Superior Court records for Hillman turned up convictions for burglary, drug abuse and battery dating to 1998.

In 2005, he was charged with felony domestic violence but pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of battery, court records show.

A marijuana possession charge was dismissed.

The court file did not identify the battery victim, although the original felony charge was based on the alleged infliction of injury upon a “spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or the mother or father of his or her child.”

Hillman was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years’ probation, and ordered to undergo domestic violence counseling, including anger management.

In 2006, he was kicked out of a “batterers treatment program” after missing four of six meetings, court records show.

The county report states that Diamond’s family had been the subject of six prior abuse and neglect complaints since 2004, when the oldest child, then 18 months old, was alleged to be hungry and living with her mother in a motel with no cooking facilities.

When a social worker could not find them, that allegation was deemed inconclusive .

Subsequent allegations of general neglect, sexual abuse and physical abuse in 2006, 2007 and 2008 involving the oldest child were all deemed inconclusive or unfounded, the report states.

In late January 2009, social workers substantiated allegations that the girl, then 6, had been physically and emotionally abused by her mother.

Besides striking her with a belt, the woman also had interfered with the girl’s relationship with her father, who was not Hillman, and had created “a detrimental environment” that caused her to act out aggressively.

The girl and her younger sibling were then taken from their mother and placed with their biological fathers.

When Diamond was born, the woman was “actively participating in court-ordered services and had nearly completed the required case plan activities,” the report noted.

So she was permitted to sign onto a “family maintenance plan” that allowed her to keep her new daughter at home, the report said.

“That agreement remained in place at the time that Diamond suffered the injuries that resulted in her death,” the report said.

kim.christensen@latimes.com

Times staff writer Garrett Therolf and researcher Scott Wilson contributed to this report.

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

Man gets 25 years to life for murder of Dae’von Bailey, 6

 

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bailey16-2009dec16,0,741489.story

By Hector Becerra

Marcas Catrell Fisher, 36, pleaded guilty to beating his ex-girlfriend’s son in South L.A. as his 5-year-old daughter watched from the corner of a room, unable to scream.

One month after pleading guilty, a South Los Angeles man was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years to life in prison for beating his ex-girlfriend’s 6-year-old son to death.

Compton Superior Court Judge John Cheroske sentenced Marcas Catrell Fisher, 36, to the maximum term for first-degree murder.

Fisher killed Dae’von Bailey on July 23 in South Los Angeles as the boy’s 5-year-old half sister — who was Fisher’s daughter — watched from the corner of a room, unable to scream. The girl would later tell social workers that she had seen her brother tied up in the hallway, crying, as her father beat him.

Later, she said, Fisher put Dae’von in the shower and told him to “wake up” before dragging him to the bedroom. Fisher eventually fled, leaving his daughter behind with her dead brother.

For almost a month, he eluded a police dragnet before being tracked to an apartment in North Las Vegas.

A convicted rapist, Fisher had agreed to care for Dae’von and his daughter after their mother, Tylette Davis, put five of her six children in other people’s care. The boy and his siblings had been the subject of 10 child abuse or neglect investigations since 1999 by the time he came under Fisher’s care.

In the last three months before his death, Dae’von twice told authorities that he had been physically abused by Fisher, but both times he was left with the man who eventually killed him.

Los Angeles Police Department detectives said that the boy’s body bore bruises in different stages of healing, indicating that he had been abused for an extended period of time.

On Tuesday, a bespectacled Fisher apologized from behind a pane of glass at the Compton courthouse for killing the boy.

Before he was sentenced, Majella Maas, the boy’s kindergarten teacher at Lakewood’s Riley Elementary School, told the court that Dae’von’s death left not only his family grief-stricken. Later, Maas said the boy was the most affection-hungry child she had encountered in 28 years of teaching, always asking for hugs.

After the sentencing, she went to his grave site in a Compton cemetery. It bears no marker, she said, but a cemetery worker knew where it was and led her there.

He had made a makeshift marker for Dae’von’s grave, Maas said.

“He said, ‘Oh, the baby?’ I’ll show you where he is,’ ” she said. “He knew his name instantly.”

hector.becerra@latimes.com

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