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Child Welfare Review Teams Under Microscope

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By JONATHAN BACH and WHITNEY M. WOODWORTH, Statesman Journal

 

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Barely three days after 12-year-old Caden Berry of Keizer died, the head of Oregon’s child welfare agency ordered a full review of the agency’s interactions with his family.

Caden’s mother, Amy Marie Robertson, has been charged with murdering her son. Clyde Saiki, director of the state Department of Human Services, wanted to know if “system issues” may have prevented the state from saving the boy’s life.

DHS has publicly published reviews for at least 44 children since 2004, involving children the agency knew of who died or were severely injured. These Critical Incident Response Teams (CIRT) mostly consist of DHS staff and can be called together at the discretion of the DHS director.

That’s what happened in Caden’s case, though DHS hasn’t published a report on his death yet.

A Statesman Journal review of DHS’ published CIRT reports shows that even after investigators pointed out problems, the agency struggled to implement solutions.

The Statesman Journal’s review of the reports found:

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