The following article parallels my child protection experience in Brooklyn Center a few years ago.

On the 49th call to the home, police removed the children into protective custody (only because the 7 year old was observed trying to kill the 4 year old). As I became involved in the case, the sex abuse of the older girl became apparent. The police were aware of the prostitution taking place on the premises, and it was very likely that the older child had been prostituted.

To say that societies interests were served by not intervening in this child’s life earlier is an obscenity almost worse than the crime of child rape. The impact is forever. There is no excuse to leave at risk children in dangerous conditions.

Star Tribune Article

14 police calls to foster home led up to near-death

The near-drowning was the latest in five years worth of calls to the St. Paul house, including one last year from the frantic provider herself.

By ANTHONY LONETREE, Star Tribune
Last update: July 3, 2009 – 11:47 PMFourteen times in five years, police have been called to a St. Paul foster home where an 18-month-old girl nearly drowned this week after being left unattended in a bathtub.

Once last year, the caller was the foster-care provider herself, seemingly frantic about her husband leaving the house after an argument and warning she was “emotionally unable to care for the children” when alone, police said.

Police and state human services records have identified the foster-care providers as Barbara L. Wright, 46, and her husband, Daniel L. Wright, 50.

Since that afternoon, five more calls have been made to police about the house across the street from an East Side playground, the most recent involving the near-drowning Wednesday. The girl remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Initial reports indicated the 18-month-old and her 3-year-old sibling were left alone for a brief period before the toddler was found submerged, said police spokesman Sgt. Paul Schnell. The 3-year-old since has been moved elsewhere. Nobody appeared to be home Thursday or Friday.

Investigators now are working to determine how long the children were left unattended, Schnell said. It wasn’t clear how many children had been living in the house.

Paul Gustafson, a spokesman for the Ramsey County attorney’s office, said that as of Thursday, police had not forwarded to prosecutors any request to consider charges. Since 2007, however, authorities have prosecuted at least two cases in the Twin Cities area in which mothers left toddlers alone in bathtubs and returned to find them drowned.

Last year, a Lakeville woman was sentenced to six months in jail and 10 years’ probation after an August 2007 incident in which she left her 11-month-old daughter and 2-year-old son in the tub while she shopped for shoes on the Internet. The girl died.

Support at risk children, start a KARA group in your community.

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