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November 26, 2014 permalink
Milwaukee child protectors (DCF) thought a mother could not protect her own children, so they were taken into foster care. DCF protected the children so well that an eleven-year-old girl became pregnant. The father-to-be was the teenaged grandson of the foster mother. DCF returned the pregnant girl to her mother, who arranged for an abortion.
11-year-old Milwaukee girl sexually assaulted in foster care
An 11-year-old girl placed in foster care for her safety wound up sexually assaulted and pregnant.
Last December, a mom got a stunning phone call from an urgent care clinic.
“They were at urgent care because my daughter had been complaining about sore throat. She had been really sick," said the mom, who WISN 12 News is not identifying to protect the daughter. “She said, ’Well, your daughter's pregnant.’ I said, ‘What?’”
The woman on the other end of the phone was the foster mother the state tasked with caring for her 11-year-old daughter.
“They took my children away from me, saying I couldn't protect them. Then, she's placed in a home where something horrific like that was able to happen,” the mom said. “I didn't know what to think. I didn't know which way to turn. I felt like my world was just coming down.”
State records show the state removed the 11-year-old from her home on Milwaukee's north side after allegations her mom abused her.
It moved her to live with a foster parent trained to supervise kids with special behavioral needs. It was there prosecutors said the girl was sexually assaulted by that foster mom's 16-year-old grandson. WISN 12 News has learned he has special needs as well.
“We took a child from a home where she was being physically abused, and put her in a home where she's now being sexually abused,” state Rep. LaTonya Johnson said.
Johnson sits on the Committee on Children and Families. She questioned why the girl was in that foster home. State records show two complaints against the foster mother.
The one in 2008 was deemed unfounded. In 2013, the Wisconsin Department of Child and Families reported that "concerns existed related to the level of supervision provided by the treatment foster parent for the child.” DCF said it addressed the concerns with the foster parent.
“To me, that's an immediate red flag,” Johnson said.
DCF left the girl with the foster mom. Four months later, the 11-year-old was pregnant.
As required by law, DCF posted a report of this so-called "egregious incident."
When WISN 12 News asked for details, DCF said state law requires that "All reports be confidential" including "any document relating to the investigation, assessment and disposition of a report."
“They tell you very little what the department did as a result. It doesn't tell you anything about whether the department messed up. If they dropped the ball. If they made the wrong call,” Johnson said. “They claim that it's for the privacy and protection of the child.”
Johnson said the laws actually protect DCF.
“We're protecting them from having to take the heat,” Johnson said.
“I couldn't imagine that. She's still a baby herself,” the mom said.
After the sexual assault, the state returned the 11-year-old to her mom's custody, and together they faced the difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy.
“I didn't want her to have the baby and have the baby be a constant reminder of what happened to her,” the mom said.
She's speaking out in hopes no other family has to go through this.
“I'm quite sure I'm not the only person they failed, and I'm quite sure I'm not the last person they're going to fail,” the mom said.
Last year, DCF reported 34 incidents considered "egregious" in Milwaukee County, including death. So far this year, there have been 15.
The 16-year-old boy was charged with sexual assault but was never tried. The court found him mentally incompetent to stand trial.
The biological mom was never charged with abusing the girl and went through parenting classes. She's relieved to have her daughter home.
If you'd like to see the reports DCF makes public on egregious incidents in Milwaukee County and statewide, click here.
Source: WISN-TV Milwaukee