Friday, January 2, 2009

Boy's CPS record altered after death to reflect likely abuse

Published: Friday, Jan. 02, 2009 Page 10A

Jahmaurae Allen was pronounced dead at 11:10 p.m. July 21 of head injuries. Seven fractured ribs were healing. His body – from scalp to tongue to chest to foot – was bruised.

He was 4 years old.

Three days later, at 9:10 a.m., a somber e-mail discussion began in the highest ranks of Sacramento County's Child Protective Services.

CPS Director Laura Coulthard triggered the exchange by sending her top three lieutenants a draft of her "CALL TO ACTION" – a proposed memo to CPS staff regarding the death.

"An inadequate or incomplete investigation leaves children in danger," she wrote in her draft memo.

Then Coulthard and her division managers – Melinda Lake, Kim Pearson and Jose Villa – began discussing how they should deal with the electronic record on the troubled case, according to the e-mails, excerpted here.

10:28 a.m. Villa responds to Coulthard and the others that a "totally inadequate investigation" followed a doctor's initial abuse allegation to CPS on June 17.

10:43 a.m. Lake strongly recommends that the original investigative finding of an unfounded abuse allegation be "changed to substantiated. I believe the referral is still open … so I'll have it changed there," she writes.

10:53 a.m. Coulthard concurs, saying: "Changed with notation of why," meaning the record should reflect that an alteration has been made.

11 a.m. Lake says the record "needs to be amended to substantiated based on the doctor's statement if nothing else."

11:12 a.m. Pearson responds that she is "at loss here." With "this shoddy investigation," could the agency legally support changing the finding of the June referral? But, she concludes, "I will change to whatever directive is …"

By 1:49 p.m., there is apparent agreement that the conclusion contained in the electronic case file should reflect that the boy's abuse was "substantiated," meaning likely to be true.

The boy, after all, was dead. A suspect was in custody. If a social worker should open the file again on a subsequent referral, Coulthard explained later, this conclusion would accurately reflect what had occurred.

The file was changed, with the conclusion now reading "effective 7/21/08, a review of this case has deemed the conclusion to be substantiated."

"This is routine," Coulthard told The Bee in an interview. "I wasn't thinking this is altering. This is just what we do."

But somewhere along the line, the altering went further, and passages of the social worker's narrative also were deleted and changed.

Coulthard's boss, Lynn Frank, recently acknowledged that the workers who altered those portions of Jahmaurae Allen's case records had done so improperly, and she said they were disciplined.

- Marjie Lundstrom and Sam Stanton

Link with comments-

Boy's CPS record altered after death to reflect likely abuse - CPS -

This is so typical of what goes on in the corrupt courts and corrupt child protective services..

And who pays? The kids pay and the innocent parents pay.. everyone else walks away scott free!

What a shame! Over and over these kinds of things play out .. on a daily basis ... wake the fuck up America and demand change and accounability from these animals!

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