Friday, October 24, 2014

Non-custodial mom angry that CPS managers found not at fault in neglect death of 8-year-old daughter in home of abusive custodial dad, step (San Antonio, Texas)

Disgusting. CPS demonstrates it usual incompetence by not doing its job at all, not contacting anybody who made abuse complaints. They failed to visit the home. They failed to do anything basically.

Most interesting is that this filthy abusive father had CUSTODY while the PROTECTIVE MOM was on SUPERVISED VISITATION. And the mom was NEVER INFORMED there were even allegations by other parties regarding abuse and neglect. Even the folks at the supervised visitation center (who tend to be very biased against moms) thought Daddy was neglecting these kids and sexually abusing them, but CPS didn't interview them either.

And after all that, CPS exempts any of its higher ups for responsibility.

Dad is identified as DAVID BRASSE, who was eventually let off the hook on all charges.

And that's how things go down in a big fathers rights state like Texas.

CPS caseworkers at fault in child's death — but not managers

By Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje October 23, 2014 | Updated: October 23, 2014 10:17pm

SAN ANTONIO — The state Office of the Inspector General found that four Child Protective Services workers failed to follow state policy in the case of Sarah Brasse, an 8-year-old girl who, while under the watch of CPS, died of untreated appendicitis in 2009.

In a report released Thursday, the OIG doesn't recommend any disciplinary action, though it found a family-services specialist, a kinship specialist and two investigators neglected to perform even basic requirements of their jobs, such as making timely visits to ensure Sarah and her brothers were all right, or following up on reports that they possibly were being abused or neglected.

Sarah's father and stepmother were investigated by CPS multiple times for abuse and neglect in the two years prior to her death.

The OIG said there was no evidence to show two high-up program directors didn't comply with policy in their handling of the family referral and documentation process.

Allegations that these managers might have illegally altered state documents were not substantiated, the report states.

“There was no evidence to indicate that any policy violations were to blame for the appendicitis, which is listed as the cause of death,” the report notes.

Jo-Anne Guerrero, Sarah's biological mother who did not have primary custody, said she read the report “with a heavy heart.”

“Why are (managers) being let off the hook?” she asked. “Yes, they are holding some staff accountable, but as usual, it's just the front-line workers. It was managers who held the power to make the truly important decisions in my daughter's case, and they didn't do the right thing. This just seems like CPS sugar-coating things.”

A spokesman for CPS' parent agency stated Thursday that no disciplinary action is expected and the case is closed.

An investigation in 2013 by the San Antonio Express-News found that in the 48 hours before Sarah died, a school counselor, a school nurse and a Schertz police officer alerted CPS about their fears that she was being neglected.

CPS manager Diane Jones declined to open a new investigation or even send a caseworker to check on the ailing Sarah, despite the fact the agency's staffers repeatedly had recorded her father's failure to seek adequate medical care for her.

The OIG report states that Jones followed policy.

CPS failures

In finding that several caseworkers disregarded policies, the OIG report states:

The family-services worker admitted in interviews that she didn't provide a timely service plan in her casework involving Sarah. She didn't alert Sarah's biological mother about an investigation involving alleged medical neglect of her daughter and her two sons.

She also failed to see if the family was accessing required services and didn't conduct visual contact with the children in the months prior to Sarah's death. And she didn't conduct a home assessment that would have “made her aware of provisions for the children and the condition in which they lived.”

The report notes the above failures were “corroborated” by a review of CPS' computerized record system, or IMPACT.

To Penny Williams, a former family-based services caseworker who worked with Sarah's family the year before she died, that statement reveals supervisors and upper management “knew what was going on.”

“Supervisors can see all documentation in IMPACT,” she said. “They had to know nothing was getting done in this case, that the children weren't being seen, and they are ultimately responsible. And it goes higher up: Once a month, supervisors have monthly meetings with program directors and program administrators, and they have to share all this information.”

Other lapses in policy, according to the OIG report:

A CPS investigator failed to contact staff at KidShare Family Services, where the Brasse children had supervised visits with their mother. Staff at KidShare made reports to CPS that the children were being neglected and possibly sexually abused, but the investigator never called back.

* A second CPS investigator also didn't notify JoAnne that her ex-husband David Brasse and his then-fiance Samantha Britain were being investigated by CPS regarding their care of the children.

* A kinship worker didn't contact a physician at Laurel Ridge Hospital, who had reported to CPS that one of Sarah's brothers appeared malnourished. He also failed to respond to an outcry the children made that “they were always hungry and not fed.”

* Staff at Watts Elementary School, where Sarah was in second grade, told OIG investigators they were not informed of an open CPS case involving the Brasse children and were not contacted by any caseworkers over their reported concerns that the children were not being care for adequately.

When EMS arrived at the Brasse home the night of Feb. 5, 2009, Sarah's body already was stiff with rigor mortis, her jaw clenched shut. The house was filthy. Police noted vomit throughout the place — on the stairs, a bathroom sink, on Sarah's bedding and her body.

David Brasse and Britain originally were found guilty of manslaughter and injury to a child, but those verdicts were overturned on appeal, with judges citing insufficient evidence. The state continued to pursue Britain, who was at home most of the day Sarah died, but she ultimately was exonerated.

The OIG report has been referred to Cynthia O'Keefe, general counsel of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the document says.

'Matter closed'

When asked if any actions were planned in response to the report, Patrick Crimmins, spokesman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, replied in an email: “The report was very thorough and we appreciate the input of OIG. This case has been extensively reviewed, and DFPS considers the matter closed.”

Crimmins confirmed that three of the four employees whose policy failures were cited in the report still are employed by the department, but that no disciplinary actions were planned.

Guerrero said the report's noting that CPS' actions didn't cause her daughter's appendicitis is “ridiculous.”

“Of course, they didn't give her appendicitis, but their inaction led to her death,” she said. “If they had acted on stuff that was brought to their attention, they would have recognized she needed help. I kept telling CPS all those years there were problems in that home. I kept saying to them, 'What are you waiting for?'”

Like DFPS and CPS, the Inspector General's office is under the umbrella of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

After being given a copy of the report, a former CPS caseworker who's familiar with the case but asked to remain anonymous because she still fears retribution, responded: “I had serious concerns about an HHSC agency investigating another HHSC agency. It seems my concerns were justified.”

The Sunset Advisory Commission, which regularly evaluates state agencies, recently issue a critical report of the OIG, stating the division uses “inefficient and ineffective processes” and is hobbled by communication, a lack of transparency and limited staff training.

Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, who asked the OIG to investigate CPS' handling of Sarah's case after the Express-News reported seven months ago about the missing KidShare referrals, said at two pages long, the report is “not as in depth as I would have hoped for given the complexity of the case. ...”

“Sarah's death is neither excusable, nor will it be forgotten. ... .”