Maryland will reform its largely unregulated process for appointing guardians of abused and neglected children even though the legislature is not forcing changes. The Baltimore Sun says that legislation requiring a thorough screening of any home where an abused child might be sent to live with a guardian died in a House committee. It was proposed after the case of Ciara Jobes, a 15-year-old Baltimore girl who was tortured to death in 2002, allegedly by a guardian who is accused of starving and whipping her.
Still, the state Department of Human Resources is rewriting its regulations so all prospective guardians would be screened, something that has not been done in the past. The screening would include a determination of the physical and mental fitness of the guardian, and certification that the home has passed a fire and safety inspection.
Police say Jobes’ guardian, Satrina Roberts, savagely beat her, denied her food and locked her in an unfurnished and unheated room for months, forcing her to use a hole in the wall as a toilet. Roberts is charged with killing Ciara; she is seeking to be declared criminally not responsible because of mental illness.
The guardianship legislation died in the House because of the opposition of a group of state judges.