Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Baby Still Recovering From Severe Burns, Abuse Due to Meth


A 1-year-old girl remains hospitalized but is recovering after suffering severe burns and abuse, her father told NEWS9 Monday.

The father, who is not charged and wishes to remain anonymous, said this was not the first time his daughter has been hospitalized under the baby's mother's care. The father said his daughter had to have surgery just months ago after she swallowed a roof stripping liquid.

At that time, he said nurses told him the girl had a 2 percent chance of surviving, but he said his daughter is a true fighter. Since then, he said, he's been trying to get custody of his young daughter.

The girl's mother, 21-year-old Samantha Burch, was arrested on Friday and faces child abuse charges. Burch's ex-boyfriend, 34-year-old Ryan Custer, faces charges of possessing meth.

Police from Dillonvale and Wells Township found the baby -- who just turned 1 on Nov. 5 -- at her mother's Coss Street home in Dillonvale. Officials said the girl was severely burned in her diaper area, dehydrated, filthy and had a fever of 103 degrees.

Police said the abuse happened at 821 1/2 Second St. in Brilliant. The baby has second- and third-degree burns, but police said they did not know how she was burned. The baby was initially transported to East Ohio Regional Hospital, then transferred the burn unit at Columbus Children's Hospital, where she remained Monday.

When K-9 units arrived at the home, one of the police dogs ran to an abandoned house behind the home and found a meth lab. Drug Enforcement Agency officials are still looking into the possibility that it could be one of the biggest meth labs found in Ohio.

Stay with NEWS9, WTOV9.com and WTOV9 Mobile for continuing coverage.

Monday, December 20, 2010

NM child left in cold car tests positive for drugs

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) - Roswell police say a 2-year-old girl left alone in a vehicle in 38-degree weather tested positive for methamphetamine and cocaine.
The child's 19-year-old mother, Veronica Meraz, was arrested Nov. 29 after the toddler was left with possible drug paraphernalia within the child's reach.
An anonymous caller reported her inside the car parked outside an apartment complex.
Roswell police spokesman Travis Holley says what caught officersÂ’ attention was the child was playing with a digital scale, which police say is commonly used to weigh narcotics.
A search of the vehicle revealed a digital scale with a white, powdery residue; two baggies with white, powdery residue; and a bag of marijuana.
Police charged Meraz with abandonment or abuse of a child, possession of controlled substances and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Information from: Roswell Daily Record, http://www.roswell/-record.com

Idaho sheriff deals with son's meth addiction

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Rick Layher has been working drug cases for decades and knows well how methamphetamine can tear a family apart.
"The parents that I've talked to, they're just pulling their hair out about it and asking 'What do we do?' No other drug has affected families like this," said Layher, who was confronted with the problem in his own home this year.
Layher's son, John R. Layher, 27, was arrested Nov. 17 for felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia.
The sheriff turned his son in to Idaho State Police after he found a couple of meth pipes in the basement of his house, where John had been living. Investigators searched the house and seized the evidence.
"I truly feel that turning him in, I did the right thing for him," Layher said. "One way or another, he's going to get some help ... To me, this was his last chance."
His son spent almost five days in jail.
"I was happy the longer my son sat in jail. His brain was starting to get clear," Layher said.
John Layher declined to be interviewed for this story. He was due in court Friday, but the preliminary hearing was rescheduled for January. The Elmore County Prosecutor's Office turned the case over to the Ada County Prosecutor to avoid a conflict of interest.
Sheriff Layher, who attended his eldest daughter's graduation from Boise State University Friday morning, said his family has been through a lot in the past month, but he's feeling optimistic about his son's future.
"I see light now ... I've seen a big difference in his attitude," said Layher, who wants to see his son get treatment for drug addiction.
He believes his son began using drugs in his early 20s, but had been clean until about a year ago.
"You see them going good for a couple months, six months, even eight months, then all of the sudden, it's like the rug's taken out from under you," Layher said. "He had gotten a pretty good job and had been clean for a long time, then he started using again."
Layher said meth addicts become completely absorbed in themselves, withdrawing from family and staying out all night.
"You can't really get into a rational conversation with them. No matter what it is, they're right," Layher said. "When they're on that stuff, they don't care about their kids, their parents, their grandparents. They don't care about them things until their brain starts clearing up."
Layher said meth is no bigger problem in Mountain Home than it is anywhere else in the state, but it is a major problem.
"I wouldn't wish this on anybody," said Layher, thankful for the support he's received from the community. "A lot of people have sent cards and said they're praying for us. That does help. I'm thankful to God for that."
Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Babies Born Addicted to Drugs are Not Considered at Imminent Risk. WHAT??

This is so upsetting.  Because so many children were being removed from their homes in OK, laws were changed to keep children in dangerous situation unless there was an "imminent safety threat".  If parents out of their minds on drugs are not an "imminent safety threat" I don't know what is. 

Apparently, "This means a parent with a drug addiction may have child custody if treatment is sought and help is available in the home.   "What constitutes an imminent safety threat? It's not just about drug abuse," Powell said. "It is whether a child is abused or neglected if the drug use impacts care for the child."

I don't know a person whose heavy drug use does not impact their ability to care for their children, yet drug use is not considered an "imminent safety threat".  What they say does not make any sense. 

"When DHS receives a report a child is born addicted to drugs, the agency considers several factors such as health of the child, type of drug and home support for the mother, Powell said.
If the baby's life is in danger or if it is an illegal drug, such as methamphetamine, removal is sought, Powell said.
However, tests may not be immediately available, or prescribed medication may challenge the decision for removal, she said."

This makes me sick.  All types of drugs are dangerous for babies.  When in doubt, wait for the test or further reports about the prescribed medication.  Children's lives should not be gambled with.  This is so frustrating!

Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20101202_11_A1_Parent443467

Drug Addicted Mother was Investigated SIX Times Before Baby's Death.

This is so sick.  This is why drug use by a parent should be a charge of child abuse/neglect/endangerment by itself without any obvious signs of abuse.  Any child living with a drug addicted parent is at risk! 

Read all the way to the bottom - the kids were voluntarily placed with relatives while the mother is in jail.  There is not even an order in place that would keep her from getting them back if she were to bond out of jail.  I wonder if there was even an investigation into the relatives before they sent the children to their homes? 

THURSDAY DECEMBER 2, 2010 Last modified: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 11:44 AM CST
DHS Actions Scrutinized: Report probes complaints made prior to baby’s death
A report released Tuesday shows that Department of Human Services workers investigated the mother of a 10-day-old infant found dead in a washing machine six times before the baby’s death on Nov. 4.

Among the complaints was a report that a relative had died in the home from a drug overdose and that other relatives failed to report the death for seven hours because they were “shooting up speed” when the relative died.

The report, issued by the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth Office of Juvenile System Oversight on the death of 10-day-old Maggie Trammel, indicates there had been several reports regarding the care of Trammel and two other children, ages 5 and 8, in the home. The reports dated as far back as March 2009.

Trammel’s mother, 26-year-old Lyndsey Dawn Fiddler, is currently being held on $100,000 bond on charges of child neglect.

Fiddler’s case has garnered national attention since the baby’s death was reported.

According to the OCCY report, the first complaint, which was made on March 27, 2009, stated that Fiddler’s children were reported to have been absent from day care. Fiddler stated the children had been sick.

“The reporter stated that Lyndsey Fiddler and the children lived with a relative until about two or three weeks earlier when they were thrown out. The reporter was concerned about the children’s safety,” the report states.

DHS reportedly accepted the report and screened it out on April 4 as “Not Child Abuse/Neglect,” and documented that “no information was given that stated the children’s welfare was at substantial risk of serious neglect or physical danger.”

The second report, on Oct. 12, 2009, said that Fiddler and two other adults living in the home “all used drugs in front of the children” and that “the adults passed out from drug use” and that “one of the adults was so high that they fell asleep in their food.”

The report stated that a 5-year-old “walked down to the end of the road and the adults did not know where the child had gone.” DHS reportedly concluded at that time that there were “high red flags” regarding Fiddler’s drug use — and that she reportedly tested positive in a drug screen — but found that the children were not in danger, appearing “clean, appropriately dressed and developmentally on target.”

In the third report, it was stated on April 8, Fiddler had been arrested on charges of drug possession and had tried to smuggle drugs into the jail before bonding out. The reporting party indicated that they were concerned that Fiddler had “left the children with an inappropriate caretaker in the past.” Nine days later, DHS concluded that the report was “Not Child Abuse/Neglect.”

The fourth report, which was made on June 21, alleged that a relative of Fiddler had “died in her home of a drug overdose” while Fiddler was pregnant with Trammel. The report states that the children were taken from the home by another relative but that “an additional relative wanted the children to stay there but kept passing out from drugs while trying to argue the point.”

Fiddler reportedly told the relative to take the children because she did not have food in the home. The report states there was no refrigerator in the home and the children were hungry and dirty.

DHS concluded at that time that there was a “red flag” due to drug use but that DHS was “unable to prove neglect or abuse of the children.”

The fifth report, dated Sept. 14, stated “concern for the unborn child of Lyndsey Fiddler and said that she was “taking prescription drugs to the point of not being able to walk down stairs, having slurred speech” and was due to deliver her baby in late October. The report was screened out nine days later, recommending that the care of Fiddler’s two other children be assessed.

The final report, prior the baby’s death, was made on Oct. 25, two days after the baby’s birth, saying that “Fiddler had given birth and had reportedly used drugs throughout her pregnancy.” DHS had reportedly contacted nine collateral witnesses regarding the report and the investigation was still open at the time of Trammel’s death. The report noted that “Fiddler was willing to work on parenting services.”

Three more reports were made to DHS following the infant’s death, including one the day after the baby’s death saying that there was concern that “the surviving siblings had not been removed from the home.” DHS at that time documented that “the children were placed voluntarily with relatives who were seeking legal guardianship.”

According to an affidavit filed in the case by Bartlesville police, when questioned, Fiddler reportedly denied “knowing how her baby got placed into the washing machine,” and she reportedly denied that she used methamphetamine ‘anymore.’”

A drug screen administered by police following her arrest, however, reportedly returned positive results for “methamphetamine, amphetamines, benzodiazepine and opiates.”

When contacted today, DHS officials said they are unable to comment on specific cases, but did offer some insight into DHS policy.

According to Dixie Clayborn, local DHS intake supervisor, child welfare workers investigate each complaint in compliance with the agency’s policies and state law.

“Our office receives referrals and they are assigned when they meet the criteria that is laid out for us as state statutes (require),” Clayborn said.

“When we arrive in the home, we look over everything that was mentioned in the referral. Sometimes it is all true, and other times we find that nothing in the referral was represented accurately.

“All concerning factors are researched to the extent the law allows DHS to do so.”

Clayborn said the agency’s policy does not allow drug testing to be done during an investigation or assessment.

She said the agency considers all available information when deciding what actions to take regarding a referral.

“We take current information that we receive as well as historical information,” she said. “Basically, we’re putting together a big picture puzzle as to what is happening. Any information that people want to give us concerning the welfare of children is taken very seriously.”

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