Saturday, December 6, 2008

Two Local Cases of Foster Child Torture

The San Francisco Chronicle has articles today about two unrelated cases of a foster child being held prisoner, underfed and tortured. In one case the 16 year old teenage boy escaped.
The emaciated boy was wearing oversized boxer shorts, was covered in soot, had cuts all over his body and had a 3-foot chain padlocked to his right ankle.
In the other case, the 15 year old girl died of starvation.
Jazzmin Davis' naked, emaciated body was found in September covered with scars, wounds and burns.
How could this be happening? Both cases reveal an overworked foster care system and children being place with the "aunt".

In the boy's case, the woman representing herself as his aunt was not in fact related to him and had previously been convicted of abusing him:
Authorities were still trying to determine how the boy ended up in the hands of Caren Ramirez, 43, even after she was convicted of abusing him in Sacramento County.

The boy said Ramirez, who had been described as his aunt but in fact is not related to him, beat him with martial-arts sticks, a spatula, a broomstick and a clothes hanger in 2006. The boy was sent to a foster home but ran away.

Child Protective Services had issued a warrant for her arrest but had not located her:
In November 2007, Ramirez pleaded no contest to one charge of child-abuse and admitted she had used a deadly or dangerous weapon during the abuse, court records show. She was sentenced to 180 days in a work-furlough program, placed on five years' probation and ordered to stay away from her nephew.

In January, Child Protective Services told a judge that Ramirez's nephew had run away from his foster home and was believed to be living with her. A warrant was issued in February for her arrest, but authorities did not know where she was.

In the girl's case:
The San Francisco caseworker overseeing the care of a 15-year-old girl who starved to death in her aunt's home failed to follow state and agency regulations, including requirements that she confirm regular doctor visits and that the girl was attending high school, the head of the city's social services agency said this week.

"There's a reason that the law and local policies require third-party verifications as a check and balance, and it wasn't there," said Trent Rhorer, director of the city's Human Services Agency. Although the girl lived and died in Antioch, the agency oversaw her care because she and her twin brother were born in San Francisco. "That's clearly where the breakdown in casework occurred."

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