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Baby Tug of War

September 26, 2012 permalink

When a social worker on a surprise visit tried to snatch a baby from mother Ashley Waller, the mom pulled the baby back and fled. Police later arrested her.



Police: Mom assaults CYF worker who tried to take baby

Pittsburgh police find Ashley Waller, daughter in Homewood

Shelter employee: Mom, CYF worker had 'tug-of-war' over baby

PITTSBURGH — A young mother who had been running from abuse was arrested early Wednesday after taking her baby daughter and leaving a women's shelter during a physical confrontation with an apparently unannounced caseworker.

Ashley Waller
Ashley Waller

Pittsburgh police said someone from the Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families went to the shelter to serve a custody authorization to Ashley Waller and take her 5-month-old girl at about 10 a.m. Tuesday.

"All of a sudden, we heard this commotion and screaming, 'Call 911.' We saw them playing tug-of-war with the baby, and the mother snatched the baby away from the CYF worker," a case manager at the shelter said. "And with the force she had, pulling the baby away, the baby's head smacked off the ledge and we all heard it. It was like this big loud thud. And then she ran down the steps."

The shelter employee told WTAE's Janelle Hall that she doesn't think the situation was handled properly. She said CYF didn't tell police that someone was coming to take the child.

"She told me not to tell her (Waller) that she was coming," the shelter worker said. "She came, and I met with her, and she told me she was there to remove the child, and I asked her if the mother knew the child was being removed, and she told me no, and I said, 'You didn't bring anybody with you?' and she said no because she had a relationship with his mother because her 4-year-old daughter was already in the care of CYF."

Channel 4 Action News' Jim Parsons asked Allegheny County Department of Human Services Deputy Director Marcia Sturdivant why the caseworker would go alone.

"That's the very challenging part of casework. Oftentimes, we are doing our work alone because we want to make sure that families and children aren't further traumatized," said Sturdivant.

A CYF spokeswoman issued this statement: "In the difficult field of child protection, caseworkers often deal with emotionally charged situations and unfortunately -- but thankfully rarely -- sometimes these situations become emotionally volatile. We are grateful that our caseworker who was assaulted yesterday is recovering. The incident is currently under review."

Police said Waller and the 5-month-old girl were found early Wednesday morning in Homewood, and Waller was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and interfering with the custody of a child.

The 5-month-old is the second baby that CYF has taken from Waller, because she allegedly had her children around a man who had been abusive to Waller and against whom she had sought a protection from abuse order, according to the shelter worker.

Source: WTAE Pittsburgh

To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions. — Newton's third law of motion.

Comment: There is something wrong with this story. The mother engaged in a tug-of-war and was charged with a crime for recklessly endangering her baby in the middle. Fair enough. But, as in Newton's law, there was an equal and opposite force on the other end of the baby, exerted by the social worker. Her mission is to protect children before all else. In her professional capacity, she should have known to release the baby instead of playing tug-of-war. Why was she not charged with recklessly endangering another person?