- The Washington Times - Friday, February 8, 2008

BALTIMORE (AP) — Three more social-services officials have been disciplined in the wake of the death of a girl who died of methadone poisoning, even though caseworkers knew her mother was a mentally disturbed drug addict.

Two caseworkers were fired and a supervisor was disciplined because of the death last year of the Baltimore girl, whose mother had repeated contact with more than a dozen social-service employees, Maryland Department of Human Resources Secretary Brenda Donald said.

The move brings to five the number of staff members fired or disciplined for their handling of the Bryanna Harris case. Her mother, Vernice Harris, faces murder charges in the 2-year-old’s death.

Miss Donald said Wednesday that her investigation found that supervisors and caseworkers knew Bryanna was living with a drug-addicted and mentally ill mother but did not remove her.

“We value and appreciate our staff,” Miss Donald told the Baltimore Sun. “We want to support them to do a good job. But when we find they don’t do a good job, we will take swift and decisive action.”

One person resigned before termination, Miss Donald said.

Miss Donald told lawmakers last month that the family had at least 10 case workers in seven years. Two older siblings had been in foster care since 2002 and the mother had four reports of abuse and neglect dating back to 2000, including a pending investigation.

She said one of the main problems in the case was that social workers failed to grasp the big picture of the potential danger Bryanna was in, and consequently failed to intervene.

The city’s social-services agency oversees 6,000 children.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide