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January 9, 2009 permalink
Ten-year-old Seth Ireland died while social services was sleeping on the job. Today Californians fed up with child killers pelted the Fresno CPS office with rotten eggs, and sent harsh emails to social workers.
The parents were separated and the boy lived with mother Rena Ireland and her new partner Lebaron Vaughn. Father Joseph Hudson was reduced to visitation. When it was found that mom and stepdad were beating the boy, CPS and the courts sided with mom, bashing dad for not reporting the abuse soon enough.
We enclose two articles below, one about the vandalism, the second derived from an interview with the bereaved father.
CPS Feeling Backlash after Death of 10-Yr-Old
Thursday, January 08, 2009 | 6:55 PM, By Itica Milanes
Fresno, CA, USA (KFSN) -- The Fresno County Child Protective Services office was the target of threats, after the death of a 10 year old child.
CPS employees showed up for work in Downtown Fresno and found their building splashed with rotting eggs.
They called in extra security but then there were angry emails and phone messages. Action News has learned about a letter signed by Seth Ireland and whose penmanship looks like that of a child. But the words are beyond a 10 year old.
He talks about injuries and tries to explain how he got them-- like being tripped at school, and falling in the shower. Chilling words from a little boy just two months before his brutal murder.
The note -- dated November 2, 2008, appears to be written by Seth. He talks about falling in the shower and getting hurt, having been in the hospital, but feeling better.
He also refers to his mother's boyfriend, Lebaron Vaughn as his daycare provider. And then there are telltale signs that Seth may have had some help writing the letter. He signed off saying 'I declare under penalty of perjury under the law of the U.S.A.'
Legal jargon most 10 year olds would know nothing about. CPS Director Cathi Huerta says she and her staff are devastated by Seth's death.
CPS Director Catherine Huerta said, "You know, its a failure when we lose a child, whether fault found or anything."
Wednesday morning, CPS workers arrived at the Downtown Fresno office to find the building egged. Inside there were several hateful emails and phone messages.
"You know, how can you let this happen what kind of a person are you? Look what happens when you didn't do your job," said Huerta.
Huerta says she understands the outrage.
"The public is upset, they have a right to be upset. I won't take that away from them," said Huerta.
Huerta believes there are countless parents who may be on the verge of a breakdown where they may hurt their children or possibly do something even worse. But she admits the resources are just not available in the Valley.
Right now -- law enforcement, teachers, or others who call CPS about a problem involving a child usually talk to a case worker.
But Huerta told me that in the future-- the case worker must call a supervisor-- and the supervisor will make the ultimate decision about what to do with the child.
Source: KFSN-TV Fresno
Father Speaks Out Over Son's Death, Ongoing Fight for Custody
By Preston Phillips Story Published: Jan 8, 2009 at 1:20 AM EST, Story Updated: Jan 9, 2009 at 2:42 PM EST
The father of a Fresno boy who died Tuesday morning, following a severe beating, is speaking out tonight.
The boy's mother and boyfriend were formally charged in court today, in connection with 10-year-old Seth Ireland’s death.
For the first time since their arrest December, 30th, 40-year-old Rena Ireland and her boyfriend, 32-year-old Lebaron Vaughn appear in court.
Tuesday morning, Ireland is formally charged with 2 counts of child abuse against her son, 10-year-old Seth Ireland.
Vaughn, her boyfriend and son's accused killer is also charged with 2 counts of child abuse, and murder.
Both suspects pleaded innocent to all charges against them.
Joseph Hudson, Victim’s Father: “His smile, his bright eyes, his intelligence. I'm going to miss everything about my son."
Tuesday afternoon, Joseph Hudson, Seth’s biological father shared with us, his side of the story.
He says he blames the court system and police department for failing to protect his son.
Hudson: "I had been pleading with them since last august when I started noticing signs of child abuse."
Hudson says up until the end of August, 2008, he was allowed to see his son without supervision.
But he says, one weekend, while he and his son were hanging out, he noticed several bruises and scars on the back of his legs.
Marks, that according to his son, were from falling off of his bicycle.
Hudson: "For my son's safety, I didn't mention anything to mom or anyone else. I wanted to continue weekend visits with me because I love my son."
Shortly after, Hudson says the boy's mother filed a hearing with the courts and blamed the abuse on Hudson.
But Hudson says following mediation, what he calls "the truth" came out, that the boy's mother had actually been cited for child abuse around the time he noticed the physical marks.
Hudson and his attorney say the judge reprimanded Ireland for corporal punishment and for alienating a child.
But Hudson says the judge was also upset with him for not reporting the marks when he saw them on his son.
That's when Hudson says, the custody order was changed by the courts to supervised visits only, with the mother retaining custody.
Hudson: "I was totally outraged and shocked about the findings. The judge blew me off and just ignored me."
As the fight for his son's custody continued, more bruises and marks of physical abuse showed up on Seth.
This time, in October, witnessed by Carla Manning, the principal at Kirk school, where both Seth and his brother Javron had attended from early September until October 30th.
Concerned for the safety of both Seth and his brother Javron, Manning wrote a letter to child protective services on November 17th, requesting something be done.
In the letter, Manning states, “They live with their mother Rena Ireland and the mother’s boyfriend, LeBarron Vaughn. I am very concerned about the well being of the boys. Both boys are absent a lot and have come to school with bruises. Most of my concerns center on the boyfriend, LeBarron Vaughn. He tried to register the boys for school as their legal father. The mother was located and was told to re-submit the paper work or the students would be dropped. Mr. Barron claimed that the last school treated them rudely and tried to force them to sign an IEP for the boys. I told the parents that only the mother could make decisions regarding the boys and that I would not talk to or give any information to Mr. Vaughn unless there is an emergency. Mr. Vaughn has asked the school to 5150 Seth because “he was out of control.” He asked for a 504 plan even though the boys do not have a diagnosed disability and he wanted to get medication for Seth because he claimed that Seth had mental and behavioral problems. I again told him that only Mrs. Ireland could speak for the boys and that the boys did very well in school academically and did not have any behavior problems. The boys did not return to school. Out of concern for the boys, I made a CPS report reporting the bruises that I witnessed and the request for mediation for the boys. After two weeks, they were found to be enrolled in two different schools in the Fresno area.”
But Hudson says he feels authorities, even after receiving this letter, failed to intervene.
Tonight, he grieves, clinging to memories of his son, and hoping changes to the system will one day be made.
More shocking information was also revealed Wednesday.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s office stated on December 26th, 3 days before Seth was severely beaten, both his mom and her boyfriend tried to abandon Seth and his brother Javron at the Fresno County Jail, because they were, according to the report, quote “out of control.”
The report also stated that this is what Seth’s mother and her boyfriend were told by social services to do if the boys acted up.
According to a deputy, a short time later, they decided to take the kids back home, where they said they’d be safe.
At that same time, the report says a deputy notified child protective services about what had taken place.
It also stated that both boys didn’t show any signs of physical abuse or neglect.
Also Wednesday, Fresno County Supervisor, Henry Perea called for an independent investigation of the county’s child protective services.
He plans to ask the board next Tuesday to form a local independent review panel and present findings and recommendations back to the board of supervisors within 60 days.
Suspects, Rena Ireland and Lebaron Vaughn are scheduled to appear back in court on January 22nd and February 5th.
Source: KSEE-TV Fresno-Visalia
Addendum: Here is another case of anger at child protectors, this time from Texas.
Web Posted: 01/09/2009 2:16 CST
Police check out suspicious package at CPS
Lomi Kriel - Express-News
San Antonio Police are at the headquarters of Child Protective Services, responding to a call for a suspicious package that had been delivered there.
According to a police dispatcher, a package wrapped in a chain and padlock was addressed to a specific case worker and had been left at the location, on the city's Southeast Side.
More details were not immediately available.
Source: San Antonio Express-News