Favorite

Child abuse deaths online 

DHS starts posting, thanks to new law

The webpage of the state Department of Human Services has a grim new feature: A link to fatalities and near fatalities reported to the Child Abuse Hotline.

Since July 30, DHS has posted — as required by legislation passed by the legislature earlier this year —details on five deaths and one near-death.

The children range in age from 2 months to 4 years. Two died and one nearly died of drug ingestion due to due to suspected neglect or inadequate supervision. A third died from trauma due to suspected physical abuse. A fifth case was about a death that occurred in 2003 but was just reported to the hotline. None of the five had had contact with DHS.

Acts 674 and 675 of 2009 require the Department of Human Services to provide bare bones information about hot line reports, the amount of detail depending on whether an investigation is pending, found to be true or reported but not substantiated.

The act was passed after it became known that four children died in foster care last year. DHS said at the time it could not provide any details about the cases, citing its interpretation of a state statute to forbid the release of any information on pending child abuse investigations.

On Friday, DHS released a report that said 29 children who had been involved with the agency since May 2008 had died; seven of them were from suspected abuse.

The Times has filed an FOI with the agency for information on the seven.

Social workers, day care center workers, shelter employees, foster parents, clinicians and other professionals are mandated to report suspected abuse or neglect to the hotline, maintained by the State Police. DHS has 72 hours to publish on its website hotline information on deaths and near-deaths it receives from the State Police. DHS spokesman Julie Munsell follows up on the notices with local authorities; she said she's had to educate police agencies around the state about the new law. The police can prohibit the release of information if they provide DHS written justification for that decision.

Fatalities and non-fatalities posted on the DHS website (www.state.ar.us/dhs) so far:

Silford Travon Jordan, 4 months, died July 30 from drug ingestion as a result of suspected neglect. The Little Rock Police Department and the Crimes Against Children Division of the State Police are investigating.

Aaron Bradley Emmons, 4, died May 11 of a drug overdose as result of suspected neglect/inadequate supervision. The death was not reported to the hot line until Aug. 5. The Conway Police Department and the CACD are investigating. DHS has assessed the need for protection for the child's sibling.

Louis Wines, 18 months, died July 7 of trauma from suspected physical abuse. The CACD and the Magnolia Police Department are investigating.

Zachary R. Adkins, 2 months, of Ashley County died of suspected neglect July 18, 2003. His death was reported as suspicious until Aug. 7. The CACD is investigating.

An unidentified 2-year-old nearly died of drug ingestion July 6. DHS' Division of Child and Family Services is investigating.

Ten of the 29 cases reported in DHS' Child Fatality Review for 2009 were unrelated to abuse. The causes of death in the remaining 12 cases is unknown, but at least half were suspected instances of sudden infant death syndrome, DHS Deputy Director Janie Huddleston said. ?Gov. Mike Beebe ordered an overhaul in the agency last year, and DCFS has worked to restructure the way it works with children in the state's care or reported to the state. Cecile Blucker, DCFS director, also released the results of a outside contractor's review of DCFS cases that pointed out the agency's shortcomings, some of them due to lack of money.

The bottom line: Poor casework has resulted in the removal of children from homes in cases in which work with the family to keep the child at home would have been a better decision.?It made these points: DCFS' casework practices aren't consistent, case supervision is weak, families aren't sufficiently involved, documentation is poor and workloads are excessive. The state is making $9.3 million in one-time funding available to DCFS to accelerate its work to revamp its system of care, which means the agency will be able to add 113 people to the staff for casework, social services and clerical help and increase funding for “intensive family services.” The money derives from savings from lowered federal matching requirements and federal incentive rewards for increased adoption rates.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • A Fat Tuesday beer dinner at @ the Corner

    At the Corner restaurant at Scott and Markham streets will celebrate Mardi Gras with its first "Fat Tuesday Beer Dinner,” featuring brews from Lost Forty, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28.
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • Butts out at The Sports Page

    Stop the presses! Or toss out the ashtrays at least. No longer does The Sports Page serve its great cheeseburgers and ginormous chilidogs with a hint of Marlboro.
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • Bohm's District Fare: Charcuterie, a glass of wine and more

    Tomas Bohm, the owner of Czech and German eatery The Pantry in West Little Rock and The Pantry Crest in Hillcrest, has settled on a name for his new venture in the old Hillcrest Artisan Meats spot: District Fare. The name “suits the Hillcrest location," Bohm said. And besides, he added, "everything else is called Hillcrest” in the neighborhood.
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Kanis development decried

    Fletcher Hollow wrong place for density, neighbors tell LR planners.
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • Eligible voters removed from rolls

    Arkansas Times reporters contacted election officials around the state to see how they had handled flawed felon data from the secretary of state. Responses varied dramatically.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Real Republicans don't do pre-K

    Also, drifting away from trump, Hudson's downfall at ASU and more.
    • Aug 11, 2016

Most Shared

  • Constituents go Cotton pickin' at Springdale town hall

    Sen. Tom Cotton, cordial to a fault, appeared before a capacity crowd at the 2,200 seat Pat Walker Performing Arts Center at Springdale High tonight to a mixed chorus of clapping and boos. Other than polite applause when he introduced his mom and dad and a still moment as he led the crowd in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance — his night didn't get much better from there.
  • Stand up for Little Rock

    If Little Rock deteriorates because of substandard schools, there will be blame aplenty to share. But some elected leaders deserve special mention.
  • Hating the media

    Presidents, with the exception of George Washington, never found much joy with the media, although Donald Trump is the first to use the scarily freighted words "enemies of the people."
  • What's new and coming soon to Argenta

    A riverfront hotel, new residential development, food, drink and more.
  • Downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock are back in business

    Main Street and beyond bustles.

Latest in Arkansas Reporter

Visit Arkansas

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries

Event Calendar

« »

February

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28  

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation