PA - Andrew Wagner, 14 mos, shaken to death, Allentown, 18 Feb 1999

Discussion in 'Past Trial Discussion Threads' started by mysteriew, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    In what is believed to be a landmark case, the state Supreme Court has ruled that an Allentown couple whose toddler was killed by a baby sitter can't get records of a state review into what Lehigh County child welfare caseworkers might have known about the baby sitter.

    The court reversed decisions by Commonwealth Court judges and a Lehigh County judge who said Harry R. and Cherie C. Wagner Jr. were entitled to state Department of Public Welfare documents of an investigation into the 1999 death of Andrew Wagner.

    Records the Wagners sought must be used to improve methods of protecting children, the high court ruled, and that can't happen if workers and others hold back for fear of liability.

    Lehigh County's solicitor and a spokeswoman for the Welfare Department hailed the ruling, saying it allows circumstances of a child's death to be fully investigated without caseworkers and other witnesses fearing litigation and encourages improvements to child welfare agencies.

    ''We feel that [the Supreme Court's] decision is going to be crucial for the good of the system,'' said Welfare Department spokeswoman Stacey Ward.

    The reviews into a child's death need to be private so important information can be obtained to make changes in the system ''if we find a system error'' for the protection of all children, she added.

    ''We need people to feel comfortable discussing exact circumstances with us rather than hesitating to provide the truth'' for fear of being sued, Ward said. ''This ruling benefits children and families across the commonwealth by keeping this information confidential.''

    It reportedly is the first time in the state that parents have requested such records.
    http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-a1_5wagneraug23,0,3644758.story?coll=all-news-hed
     
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  3. gangsta

    gangsta Former Member

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    mysteriew thanks again for posting this...this is a mess as well....

    Lehigh County's solicitor and a spokeswoman for the Welfare Department hailed the ruling, saying it allows circumstances of a child's death to be fully investigated without caseworkers and other witnesses fearing litigation and encourages improvements to child welfare agencies.

    This is a ^%#%^ joke! Fear of being investigated...PLEASE it will not be until they DO feel this fear that they will start taking their job seriously. I think it is WRONG to withhold this information and any case worker should be accountable for wrong placement of staff or children that result in harm of people in their care and custody. If thoxe we entrust to look aftdr our children are not held within the laws of abuse then neither should anyone else. They ARE supposed to be the example of humanity and child welfare how very ' abusive' of them. The last thing case workers need was any more enabling for their substandard services.
     
  4. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    Up until a child dies the Children's protective services is not held responsible to report to the public how a case is handled. They (some, not all) can and do drop the ball over and over. And to a point I can understand the privacy, for the protection of the child's privacy. But when it gets to the point that a child dies- why should CPS be exempt from public scrutiny? LE is not even exempt from liability if neglience occurs, and they are certainly held up to public scrutiny. What ever happened to this child, CPS must have failed pretty bad, if they went all the way to the state supreme court to cover it up. And that is what it is- a coverup. If I was a citizen there, I would be writing letters to legislators.
     
  5. gangsta

    gangsta Former Member

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    I do agree that privacy should be upheld at all times: while the person is alive. But for the actions of others..it should automatically become part of an investigation and open to public and LE scrutiny. If that is where the problem lies then that is where the solutuon lies as well. COVER-UP IS RIGHT!
     

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