The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Monday, December 03, 2007

The death of TaJanay Bailey

The headlines say it all- a quickly worded sentence providing as much information as needed in deciphering why TaJanay Bailey is dead at just three years old.

All of the risk factors for abuse were present

Unwed teen mother with a imperfect past, drug abuse, failed attempts to reconnect the two after DHS became involved, history of domestic violence... the list goes on.

Children have died when only one of these factors was present.
But in TaJanay's short, tragic life, all of the major risk factors cited by social workers came into play. They were present in May 2006 when the Department of Child Services took TaJanay from the care of her mother, Charity N. Bailey, after a doctor found bruises all over her body and evidence of neglect.
And many of the factors appear to have remained at the end of October when DCS workers sent her back to live with her mother and Bailey's boyfriend, Lawrence L. Green, on a trial basis.

All the signs of trouble are outlined in the reports that document the little girls life, but none of the reasons why case workers felt justified in returning TaJanay are present.

Why did DCS send her back into a situation where so many risk factors still existed? No clear answer is contained in court files released Friday or other documents that have been made public. DCS case files that will be released Monday could shed more light on the decision.
DCS officials, who are investigating the agency's handling of the case, have declined to comment on specifics until that time.
The state's ongoing push for reunification, even when Bailey and Green stumbled or refused to cooperate, shouldn't be taken as a failing of the system, Pierce said.

The goal is always reunification... but what happens when the goal is met, and the outcome is a child beaten to death?