Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mother's threat to kill child not enough to warrant a phone call?

The call to the Child Protective Services hotline came in on Aug. 3, 2004: a mother was thinking of killing herself and her young son. Within a day, CPS decided the boy was in no danger. Instead of doing an actual investigation – things like pulling her psychiatric records or contacting the boy's father – the case manager and his supervisor decided that what the mother really needed was better coping skills. And so, after three months of working with a parent aid, CPS pronounced the mother a much improved coper and closed the case. Almost three years to the day later, Jennifer Jansma tried to kill herself and succeeded in killing her 8-year-old son Jordan – exactly as she'd described that she would. Now, the state is asking a judge to toss out the father's lawsuit, saying there's no proof that CPS fell below “the appropriate standard of care.” This was the appropriate standard of care? Explains a lot, doesn't it? Jansma had brought her son to Phoenix from Colorado early in the decade, after splitting with her boyfriend, Woody Drummond, who has since changed his name to Iacovetta. The couple had had a turbulent relationship and a bitter custody battle. A judge gave Jansma custody but ruled that Iacovetta must be promptly informed of major decisions about the boy's health or welfare. On Aug. 3, 2004, 26-year-old Jansma put 4-year-old Jordan in respite care and checked herself into a mental hospital, explaining that she was thinking of killing herself and her son with an overdose of morphine. A day later, she was back home when CPS came calling. Jansma, who had morphine on hand to deal with pain from an amputated leg, explained that she was overwhelmed by her son's behavior problems. The boy had recently been kicked out