Attorneys representing Baltimore children charge that the city’s Department of Social Services is “sitting on a time bomb” and is putting hundreds of supervised children at risk because of a lax approach and overburdened caseworkers, the Baltimore Sun reports. The lawyers told a federal judge that social service workers fail to complete criminal background checks on many foster parents and for try to “intimidate and coerce” caregivers into adopting children.
“We are very concerned about the problems and hope our report will encourage the [department] to take the necessary steps,” said Mitchell Y. Mirviss, an author of the court filing.
The report to the court details the case of Ciara Jobes, 15, who was starved and tortured to death last year. The girl’s legal guardian has been charged in her death. “Ciara’s case, as reported by The Sun, cannot be dismissed as an aberration,” said the report. “Her case was exposed only because she was tortured, sexually abused and savagely killed. There is ample reason to fear that other children could be in danger as well.”
Ciara’s guardian, Satrina Roberts, is accused of denying Ciara food and locking her in an unfurnished, unheated room for months, forcing her to use a hole in the wall as a toilet. “The tragic case of Ciara Jobes appears to illustrate the extreme risks posed by the high caseloads and lack of safety precautions for these homes,” the report said.