LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Child after child slipping through the cracks: The I-Team has been investigating Child Protective Services highlighting system failures. Because of these stories, one county commissioner is trying to take action.
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom wants a review of child fatalities, so he is recommending that the Clark County Commission discuss creating a Blue Ribbon Panel, which reviews child deaths. The panel will be on the agenda for the next meeting, which is next Tuesday.
“Any time a child is dead, there’s a problem. Let’s face it,” Segerblom said.
Commissioner Segerblom sat down with the I-Team on Aug. 12 to talk about Child Protective Services.
“I think everyone is committed to try and make things as good as possible, but you’re just dealing with problems that are incredibly difficult,” he said.
The I-Team has reached out to commissioners in the past about child protective services and the system failures. Commissioners Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Jim Gibson, and Segerblom are the only ones willing to discuss CPS.
Segerblom says it is a challenge to oversee the agency since information about child cases is protected by state law.
“Truthfully, it is very frustrating for all of us to be able to say, ‘well it looks like, everybody says yes, we did a good job, but we can’t tell you what it was,” Segerbloom said.
CPS faces a lawsuit after Daevon Branon-Banks was killed by his foster father in 2017. Craig Dickens was convicted for murder and is in prison.
The mother of Aaron Jones, who died the same year, is suing because the child was placed with his father who was on probation for felony child abuse. Paul Jones is charged with murder.
In 2018, the county agreed to pay $100,000 to the family of Abygaile Bennett who was killed in 2016. Her grandparents tried to warn CPS about her father Justin Bennett who is now accused of murder and faces the death penalty.
The I-Team has interviewed family after family who argues CPS needs to change. Just last month, a grandmother told the I-Team she believed CPS could have protected her grandson J.J. who was killed in February.
In July, his father and girlfriend were arrested for murder.
Vanessa Murphy, Reporter: “What do you think they should have done?”
Shelby Mannino, grandmother to J.J. Newman: “I think they should have went out there and checked on him and demanded to see him. This is my grandson. I just want justice for J.J.”
After the story aired about J.J.’s death and how his case was handled, the I-Team emailed it to all of the commissioners, and Gov. Steve Sisolak since the state also oversees CPS.
The I-Team did not hear back from the governor’s office, and most of the commissioners also ignored them. But Commissioner Tick Segerblom didn’t. Now, he is proposing a review of child deaths.