Tag Archives: failures by Child Protective Services

Hospital of Horrors

Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Author Roman Boed of Netherlands, Source Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Most of us view hospitals as places of hope and healing.  According to a federal lawsuit filed last week, Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital does not fit that bill [1A].

Damning Investigations

Investigations by both the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica confirm that children confined to Aurora were subjected to physical and/or sexual abuse there [1B].

Willful Ignorance

Child welfare officials at the Illinois Dept. of Children and Family Services (DCFS) allegedly ignored the issues at Aurora due to a shortage of other psychiatric facilities willing to accept DCFS referrals.

Despite an increased number of complaints to the state’s child abuse hotline regarding Aurora, DCFS did not stop referring patients to that hospital until pressure was applied by watchdog groups and state legislators.

For those reasons, DCFS is, also, named in the suit.

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault

Blood and Gore

WARNING:  Graphic Images

You sit in a darkened multiplex, popcorn and licorice at the ready. The previews end, and the main feature begins. It is a horror flick. You settle in for cinematic blood and gore.

The mother of an infant with a fractured skull fakes cancer, in an effort to avoid liability. Wait. That sounds familiar.

Ashley Reichard faked ovarian cancer when she brought her 11 month old to the hospital [1]. The mother had shaved her own head, and forged a letter from a recognized cancer center to explain failure to follow with her probation officer.

Injuries on the little girl’s part could only be explained by abuse. They included two skull fractures, a broken jaw, a broken femur, multiple bruises and cigarette burns. Days had passed since the injuries were inflicted on the child.

Misspellings in the letter, and obvious inconsistencies in the child’s medical history gave the scheme away.

Back to the film, with a sigh of relief. Put those images out of mind. Try these instead. A brother and sister are found dead in a freezer. Oh, no. Please, no.

A 13 y.o. girl, Stoni Ann, and 9 y.o. boy, Stephen, were beaten to death by their mother, Mitchelle Blair, then stored in deep freeze for over a year, like slabs of beef [2].

According to an older sibling, Blair placed a plastic bag over Stoni Ann’s mouth, and strangled the girl with a T-shirt. Blair tortured the boy for two weeks before his death. Neither of the fathers was involved in his child’s life.

Child Protective Services had documented physical abuse in the home in 2002 and 2005. Michigan, however, allows children to be home schooled without external supervision. The children’s bodies were found by court officers executing an eviction notice.

Still in the mood for a horror movie?  Frankenstein and the walking dead have nothing on the stories social workers can tell. Continue reading


Filed under Child Abuse, Community, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Poverty, Sexual Abuse


WARNING:  Graphic Images

News of the deliberate crash of a German airliner a few weeks ago [1] eclipsed the story of a 19 y.o. who fatally stabbed his mother and critically injured his grandmother, in the Philadelphia home the three shared [2].

The term “home” can be applied only loosely to the situation Zachary Pritchett endured. The house had no running water and few contents. Human feces covered the floor of the room to which Zachary was evidently confined. His screams, neighbors say, could be heard every night.

Whatever else went on, neighbors were aware that – year in and year out – the young man was never allowed out of the house, and never schooled. Police and the Dept. of Human Services (child protective services) were notified, again and again.  Though police responded to the house at least a dozen times in the last year alone, no action appears to have been taken.

The night before the stabbings Zachary was overheard pleading, “Please, leave me alone. Don’t do this. Let go.”

Everyone of us has a breaking point. Zachary’s rage at a lifetime of abuse and neglect finally boiled over. He is now at the tender mercies of the justice system. All things considered, it has to be an improvement.

[1] CNN, “Germanwings Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz Declared ‘Unfit to Work’ Officials Say” by Faith Karimi, Michael Pearson, and Laura Smith-Spark, 3/27/15, http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/27/europe/france-germanwings-plane-crash-main/ .

[2] 6 ABC Action News/Philadelphia, “Neighbors Say Trouble in Home Preceded Fatal Double Stabbing in Bridesburg” by Chad Pradelli, 3/27/15, http://6abc.com/news/feces-no-running-water-in-home-where-fatal-double-stabbing-occurred/575533/.



Filed under Child Abuse, Community, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Neglect, Physical Abuse