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Jul 14, 2017

D.H.S.: Abuse reports must be substantiated

The tragic death of thirteen-year-old Faye Lin Cannon under the supervision of her adoptive parents last Monday in San Pedro, has raised a myriad of questions about the role of the Department of Human Services. That arm of government deals specifically with families and children, and is tasked with responding to cases of child abuse and neglect. While the agency would not speak specifically to the individual circumstance involving Faye Lin and her three siblings, Director Lliani Arthurs and Human Development Coordinator for Child Protection Services, Ganesha Brannon, sat with News Five today to discuss similar scenarios. The remaining foster children of David and Anke Doehm have since been taken away by the Department of Human Services pending the outcome of several inquiries, including a criminal investigation.

 

Lliani Arthurs, Director, Department of Human Services

Leanne Arthurs

“In terms of the Family and Children’s Act, it specifies two entities that have responsibility to receive and to respond to reports of child abuse and neglect and that is the Department of Human Services and the police department.  And so, we receive reports and then a two-track system of response is initiated whereby the Department of Human Services’ role is to look at has the abuse occurred and is the child safe, and how do we make that child safe within that environment.  The police looks at whether there has been a crime committed and they follow the course, in terms of bringing justice for that child.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now in a case where a child or children are in a home where they have both parents present and an allegation, for instance, is made against one of the two parents, what kind of intervention happens on the part of the police department?”

 

Ganesha Brannon

Ganesha Brannon, Human Development Coordinator, Child Protection Services

“Okay, that goes two ways.  One, like you rightly asked, if a parent or both parents are living in a home, you go in and see if there is anything with the allegation, if it is true.  And once it is substantiated then we need to look at if the child is at danger right now or if that child is likely to suffer anymore harm and then what are the parents’ capacity to protect.  So maybe the physical abuse occurred with a dad, but the mother is in the home and maybe that mother could not have protected that child because she’s a victim of DV.  So we have to look at the entire family’s situation and make a decision on whether or not that child will be able to remain in that home or temporarily be removed from that home.”

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