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Hearing on Baby's Death Today

Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) is seeking answers in a hearing this morning on the death of 6-month-old Isiah Garcia, who died on June 25th.

A social worker in the Child and Family Services Agency had never seen the child, who had been reported to the agency for neglect. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty fired the worker last week, saying there was no excuse for not reaching the child. A cause of death has not been determined.

Wells, a formal social worker, said he is concerned about CFSA and how it's handling a backlog of cases in the wake of Banita Jacks and her four daughters.

The sisters were found dead in their Southeast home in January, and their mother has been charged with their deaths. CFSA had closed the case on the girls, though a school social worker had pleaded for more intervention. The girls, whose bodies were badly decomposed, were believed to have been dead for months.

The case caused a spike in reports of neglect and abuse to the agency. The worker in charge of Isaih's case, for example, reportedly had gone from four cases to 50. At the time of Isaih's death, she had 17 open cases. The social worker made calls to the household but never saw the Isaih, as CFSA regulations require.

His parents, Morgan Herrera-El and Jesus Garcia, told The Washington Post last week that they did not abuse or neglect their four children. They did, however, say they have had problems as a couple, including domestic violence. It was after a fight with Garcia that Morgan had gone with her children to a shelter. A call alleging neglect of Isiah was made for the shelter.

By Marcia Davis  |  July 14, 2008; 8:08 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council  
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