Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dekia Mattox Update

An update to this post...from the JS Online:

A social worker from the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare investigated an abuse complaint about baby Dekia Mattox just seven weeks before authorities say she was killed by a homeless drug addict in a filthy, cold home, according to a statement released Wednesday by the state Department of Children and Families.

The bureau's Nov. 4 investigation - which stated "the home was in order," contained food, had a well-heated bedroom for the baby and contained no evidence of drug use stands in sharp contrast to the medical examiner's report, filed shortly after the baby's death Dec. 26.

According to the medical examiner, the dilapidated cottage in the 2700 block of N. Richards St. had two broken windows and was heated by three space heaters. Knives were found on the floor of nearly every room. The bathroom contained a leaking toilet and a broken sink. Dirty dishes filled the kitchen sink. Investigators found empty liquor bottles and beer cans, piles of dirty clothes, discarded baby bottles and little food.

"Do I think something dramatically changed in the home? Clearly that's the case," said Arlene Happach, director of the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare. "I don't have a clear explanation for it."

Further, Dekia's aunt, the woman who authorities say left the baby in the care of her drug-addicted boyfriend, was a licensed foster parent, the department confirmed.

The sole complaint about the baby came to the bureau's hotline Nov. 3, according to a summary from Department of Children and Families. A caller said the baby had scratches, cuts, cigarette burns and a knot on her face. The caller said there was no heat and no stove in the house. There was a portable crib in the house, the caller said, but the baby could not sleep there because it was filled with dirty clothes. The caller also said both Coleman and Diamond Mattox were drug users.

The following day, Nov. 4, a social worker met with the family inside the home. She examined the baby and found no bumps, scratches or bruises, Happach said. "There was food, diapers, plenty of formula," Happach said. "She saw no drug paraphernalia, no knives, nothing like that. What she saw at the time wasn't alarming in any way. The baby was alert, laughing, smiling, interacting with mom."

The child welfare case was closed.

Social workers who investigate abuse complaints do not routinely check with the police to find out about prior calls to an address, Happach said. If they had, they would have learned Milwaukee police had previously been called to the house to investigate complaints of drug dealing and misuse of 911, according to police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz.

Neighbors said the house was a trouble spot and was known to be a drug house.

I call bullsh*t!! There is no way...that the house went from a "well heated" home with "no evidence of drug use" to a broken down, unheated drug house in seven weeks. There is evidence of that by the police involvement with this home.

The bureau says "I don't have a clear explanation for it". Well, it's clear to me that there are one of two explanations. Either A) The social worker didn't actually go to the home and lied on the report, or B) The social worker DID go to the home and lied on the report. Either way, a baby is now dead.

I am so FREAKING sick and tired of the social workers who clearly fail the system and are not held accountable. Don't get me wrong - I know there are plenty of good, caring people working in the system. Unfortunately, one bad apple can spoil the bunch, and those are the ones we hear about once a tragedy occurs.

Granted, I don't know all the details yet. However, by the looks of things, there are MANY who should be held accountable for Dekia's death, from the addict who killed her, to the aunt who left her with the addict, to the 15 year old mother who was "gone for days" to the social worker who clearly dropped the ball. They should all pay a price.

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