Child Protection Services is an agency meant to save children from unsafe living situations. They are meant to step in and put the child’s needs first, but so often they utterly fail at this most important job. So often I read about CPS taking children from good homes for some ridiculous reason like “the parents smoke marijuana” or “mom made the kids walk to school alone”…while abused, neglected and otherwise vulnerable children remain in horrible conditions with unfit parents, all while being in contact with this agency.
Reading the local paper today I came across the story of the tragic and all too short lives of Shaun and Delylah Tara. Back in December of 2015 they were both found in barrels in a storage locker in Redding, CA after their 9 year old half sister had been found lying in a car with numerous broken bones, missing teeth, infested with lice and weighing in at only 40 lbs.!
How did these kids come to be in such condition? After their mother had committed suicide in 2013 via jumping in front of a car, and their father went to prison a few months later the kids were sent to say with the father’s cousin, Tami Huntsman. Huntsman is a cousin of the children’s father and apparently agreed to care for the children while their father did his time, so that the kids would be enter the system. The children were no stranger to CPS workers, the agency had been in contact with the family several times before the death of the children’s mother for allegations of neglect and abuse in the home.
Unfortunately they went from that situation to one that was apparently much, much worse. In April or May of last year, someone reported Huntsman to CPS for leaving the children home alone as well as the condition of the older girl. Shortly after the social worker determined that there was no imminent threat to the children’s safety, despite the dirty and overcrowded apartment and admitted abuse by a 17 year old in the home, CPS received word that the children’s grandparents were searching for them but the proper paperwork was never filed to grant guardianship to the grandparents, so they stayed with Huntsman.
In August CPS was again contacted regarding the neglect and abuse of these three children in Tami Huntsman’s care. During that visit the social worker noted that the boy had bruises and scratches and that he had lost weight. In the report to CPS, the reporting party had described the three year old girl, Delylah, being tied to her bed with zip ties for punishment.
The social worker even noticed that while she interviewed the children privately, Huntsman kept within earshot of the tiny, doorless bedroom. The worker recommended that if the family were to be reported again, it would be best to interview the children in another, more private setting. But unfortunately that social worker was the last one to see the two younger children alive.
For over a month after that visit, CPS “attempted” to contact Huntsman via “three voicemails, and three door knocks”. When they could not be located, the social worker from the August visit closed the case, noting that it was “unknown” if safety threats existed because the assessment could not be completed. In October a different social worker was contacted by the 9 year old girl’s school. She had apparently told school officials that her younger siblings were being zip tied to their beds as punishment, that she was watching them alone at night while the adults went out and that Tami Huntsman was in a relationship with a 17 year old boy who lived in the home.
Salinas police were called to do a welfare check that very night, but when they knocked their was no answer. The social worker noted that the allegations had been previously reported and investigated and the report had been inconclusive. No further investigation was conducted. Six year old Shaun and three year old Delylah were killed about a month later and it was not until December 11th that their poor bodies were discovered in the storage unit in Redding.
Huntsman and her 17 year old boyfriend have since been arrested for mayhem, torture and other charges. Murder charges are likely forthcoming for the two young kids who did not survive the torment inflicted upon them. But you have to ask yourself, if the social worker had tried a bit harder to do the job she was meant to do, then would these kids still be alive today? I think the answer is a resounding YES, THEY WOULD!
Other CPS Failures
The Tara children are certainly not the first children who were failed by Child Protective Services, and unfortunately they are likely not to be the last. There is more than one Youtube channel devoted to telling the stories of these children who have been failed utterly by the system put in place to protect them.
Here are a couple:
Meanwhile, what kids are CPS removing from their homes and families? How about the family in South Dakota, November 2014: They brought their 2 month old baby to the local ER for a cut on the baby’s tongue that was preventing him from eating properly. The parents had noticed the cut after picking their three children, including the infant, up from daycare that afternoon. It was on the advice of the grandmother that they take the baby to the hospital in Sioux Falls.
The situation quickly turned into a nightmare for the family as the doctors contacted CPS to investigate. CPS soon demanded the other two children be given over to them, even though there was no evidence for abuse and no imminent threat to the children’s safety. All bus a baby got a small cut on his tongue. You can read more about this story here.
Then there is the story of the Geers Family in Michigan whose children were also kidnapped legally by CPS working in conjunction with the medical industry. Or Anna and Alex Nikolayev who raised a great deal of awareness to the corrupt practices of CPS in 2013 with a viral video of CPS taking their child from their home without a warrant and with the help of police in Sacramento, CA.
I have not even covered the cases of children who are removed from their parents’ care by CPS, right or wrong, and then “lost”. Children actually disappear in the system and are either never seen again or are found to have been victims of even worse abuse than was the alleged reason for the initial removal. Meanwhile, children who actually need help to get out of dangerous situations are overlooked or outright ignored. This needs to stop, if this agency is unable to do the job it was put in place to do, then it needs to simply be abolished altogether.