DYFS Faulted In Death of Lakewood Toddler After Ignoring Warning Signs
It was a tragedy like no other. We will all probably never forget it. It was November of 2011. The body of a 2-year-old girl was discovered partially submerged in a Wall Township creek, still strapped into her car seat.
It set off a nationwide manhunt for the alleged killer, her father. Tierra Morgan-Glover was buried days later just as her father, Arthur Morgan the third was found in California. He was extradited back to Jersey. The family, devastated. The state, in shock.
Now three months later, child welfare officials in New Jersey are being blamed for not doing enough to prevent the death. The report released from the Department of Children and Families shows officials investigated the turbulent relationship between Tierra's mother Imani Benton and the father on at least four occasions'. The report finds the caseworkers never consulted with the agency's domestic violence liaison and didn't follow up on child abuse claims. Commissioner Allison Blake, who released the results of the report this week, says child welfare agents had investigated the situation there all the way back 13 months before Tierra was killed.
While the department continues to sort the situation out and investigate how to better protect kids in the future, Morristown Psychologist Dr. Steven Tobias weighs in. He says "it's very important that when something like abuse or violence is suspected, a full investigation is done. Before they say case closed, they really need to go through everything with a fine tooth comb. You never know."
Tobias says there are sometimes no physical signs of abuse and when a social worker comes by, they should try and talk to the kids themselves. He says "often times, parents rights end up taking over the kids but in fact, it should be the other way around - especially something so critical as a child's safety."
Arthur Morgan is currently behind bars awaiting trial. No date has been scheduled yet.
Several phone calls to the Department of Children and Familes went unreturned