MI Foster Care Under Fire After Death Of Boy, 7


The death of 7-year-old Ricky Holland, whose adoptive parents are accused of murdering him, “highlights the fact that even though the system is conceived to find these children, in far too many cases, they fall through the cracks,” said Sharon Claytor Peters of Michigan’s Children, the Detroit News reports. “This (case) should be the wake-up call that we, as a state, say ‘Never again.’ But until we begin to put the resources behind this pledge, we won’t fix it.”

Ricky was allowed by foster care officials to remain with his parents even though school officials and neighbors reported abuse. Documents obtained by the Detroit News revealed that Children’s Protective Services workers observed signs of physical abuse among Ricky’s surviving siblings, as recently as January. Michigan has a policy it calls Families First, whose goal is to keep children with their parents, even when abuse is suspected or even confirmed. Claytor Peters said social workers should have been tipped off that something was wrong when Tim and Lisa Holland moved the family in April, and began home-schooling Ricky. An earlier district where he was enrolled had reported abuse to state officials. “Clearly, there were flags,” she said. “Where we have the biggest trouble is when there’s movement from one county to another. Clearly, this family was trying to evade. The home-schooling was one way to slip (through the cracks).”

Link: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060215/METRO/602150408

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