Monday, September 20 2010 8:56 PM EDT2010-09-21 00:56:40 GMT
Police and prosecutors accuse the Department of Family Services of not doing enough to protect Las Vegas' most vulnerable kids. For the last several months, the 8 News NOW I-Team has tracked a confidential review of those allegations, and it is nearly complete.More>>
Thursday, August 19 2010 10:25 PM EDT2010-08-20 02:25:54 GMT
Police and prosecutors who investigate child abuse accuse the Clark County Department of Family Services of failing children. Two lists compiled by law enforcement detail specific examples of the agency's alleged shortcomings.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 8:13 PM EDT2013-06-19 00:13:36 GMT
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Tuesday, June 18 2013 10:49 PM EDT2013-06-19 02:49:28 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Clark County Fire Department is battling a fire at a house near Russell Road and Spencer Street. According to the fire department's website, the fire started at around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.More>>
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Tuesday, June 18 2013 9:50 PM EDT2013-06-19 01:50:28 GMT
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Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:08 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:08:21 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Clark County residents could soon be paying nearly 3 cents more a gallon for fuel, depending on a decision by county commissioners. The Nevada Legislature recently approved a bill that allowsMore>>
Clark County residents could soon be paying nearly 3 cents more a gallon for fuel, depending on a decision by county commissioners.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 6:18 PM EDT2013-06-18 22:18:45 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- A domestic violence nonprofit organization that helps rescue women from violent relationships, is now itself in need of saving. Safe Faith United might have to shut its doors July 1 becauseMore>>
A domestic violence nonprofit organization that helps rescue women from violent relationships, is now itself in need of saving.More>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 5:26 PM EDT2013-06-18 21:26:50 GMT
HENDERSON -- Imagine tens of thousands of children around the world learning to swim all at the same time. That's what happened Tuesday as part of "The World's Largest Swimming Lesson." The swimmingMore>>
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Tuesday, June 18 2013 3:33 PM EDT2013-06-18 19:33:34 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Motorcyclists and local authorities are using "Ride to Work" day to remind everyone to share the road. This year, there has been 16 motorcycle deaths in Nevada. John Cahill is an experiencedMore>>
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Tuesday, June 18 2013 3:10 PM EDT2013-06-18 19:10:04 GMT
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Nearly 100 people will remain without a permanent place to live following Sunday's three-alarm fire at the Encantada Apartments.More>>
LAS VEGAS -- Police and prosecutors charged with investigating child abuse and neglect say the Clark County Department of Family Services isn't doing enough to protect kids.
Two lists created by law enforcement detail specific examples of the agency's alleged failures. Last week, 8 News NOW examined the cases selected by Las Vegas police. The other list, created by the Clark County District Attorney's Office, is the stuff of nightmares. It includes 82 real-life examples of physical and sexual abuse, and even the murders of young children.
The DA's office compiled the list to illustrate its disagreements with the DFS. Alleged failures that, in some cases, may have cost a child's life.
Before a panel of lawmakers examining the role of the DA in child abuse and neglect proceedings, Assistant DA Teresa Lowry reframed hours of debate in just under 11 minutes.
"I've been asked previously by members of the subcommittee, 'How often do you disagree with the Department of Family Services?' I would submit to you that the question is, 'Why do we disagree,'" she said.
The why, explained Lowry, is revealed in 82 actual cases. Physical and sexual abuse, even the murder of young children, despite the involvement of Child Protective Services.
"I don't' know how to better articulate to them what we face on a day to day basis and in a daily challenge in protecting children. And so sometimes, examples can speak louder than legal arguments," said Lowry.
Examples like number 47: An 18-month-old boy found by a DFS worker during an unannounced home visit sitting on a potty chair with his hands tied behind his back. His eyes were infected and a rash covered his body.
The unauthorized man caring for the boy explained he tied him up so he wouldn't scratch.
DFS took the toddler into custody, according to the case description, but left the abuser's four children in his care. Ultimately, the DA's office, not DFS, filed a petition based on the risk of harm to the remaining kids.
"The issue is not whether too many children are being removed or not enough children are being removed. You don't want the pendulum to swing so far to either side that you lose sight of our mission. The question is are the right children being removed," said Lowry.
Lowry suggests they are not, time and time again, often due to a lack of training.
Take example number 50: a case involving the repeated sexual abuse of two teenage girls by their father. Despite both girls' admissions to a CPS investigator that their dad gave them xanax and then fondled them when he thought they were asleep, CPS closed the case as unsubstantiated.
According to the case description, the DA's office later learned of the investigation independently and prosecuted the abuser, who pleaded no contest to the charges.
"We already know what needs to be done. We've had the studies, we've had the national experts look at us, we've had the blue ribbon panel, we know what we need to do. The recommendations are already there," said Lowry.
Clark County confirms a review of the DA's list has already begun in an effort to make example number 82, another sex abuse case where the girl's mother refused to protect her, the last example in a long list of kids who should've been protected.
"We are absolutely committed to move forward and change and continue the discussion and take action. Take action to change the system and make a difference and to ensure that these examples don't happen over again," said Lowry.
Late Monday, the county sent a written statement, saying, "Clark County takes child welfare matters very seriously. We know this topic has generated substantial public interest. However, it would be premature for County management to comment until our review is complete. We are in the process of researching each cited case to determine the outcome and whether any policy change would have brought about a more favorable result. If the review finds opportunities for improving any processes, we will include those recommendations in our report."
Metro has offered to train DFS employees free of charge. They accepted the offer late Monday.