She would have been 10 months old by now. She would have been sitting up and crawling and laughing, as babies do. Who knows what she might have become had she been blessed with halfway-decent parents or halfway-competent help from Child Protective Services. Instead, Vanessa Martinez got the worst of both and paid dearly for it. The infant's autopsy was released this month, indicating that she had 23 rib fractures and died of "multiple blunt-force injuries." Basically, somebody literally squeezed the life out of the child before dumping her into a shallow grave in the southern Arizona desert. This two weeks after CPS gave her back to her loving parents and walked away -- another family reunified. It's been four months since we learned of Baby Vanessa's fate and the state's role in dispatching her to the hereafter, so I figured it was time to find out how she went free-falling through the state's safety net. Or not. The matter, I am told, has been taken care of. "The majority of the individuals involved with this case are no longer with the department," Department of Economic Security spokeswoman Tasya Peterson wrote in a statement sent to me on Friday. "Agency officials conducted a thorough investigation in order to determine what happened and has taken appropriate measures to address the issues identified." What those "appropriate measures" are, we evidently aren't entitled to know. Just as it apparently isn't any of our business what specifically went wrong or how the agency plans to ensure that it doesn't happen again. We can know only that "the majority" of the workers are gone -- though not fired, as that would be public record -- and that "appropriate measures" have been taken. Translation: Trust us, CPS says. Vanessa was born on Oct. 21 in Tucson, the second daughter of Olivia Martinez, 20, and possibly her boyfriend, Jonathan Kesterson, 26. The infant had both methamphetamine and cocaine in her system. CPS records indicate that Martinez initially lied about her drug use, saying smoke from the meth and residue from the cocaine had somehow "seeped" into her system. But she later admitted being an addict. Tests show Kesterson also lied about his cocaine addiction. Confronted with the truth, the couple agreed to give up the baby for 90 days. For two months, they underwent parenting classes and drug testing. They even went to church once a week, a caseworker noted. So when Kesterson called on Dec. 20 and said the couple wanted their baby back, CPS handed her over. Two days later, the agency closed the case, at the parents' request. It's impossible to tell from the records what the CPS workers assigned to this case were thinking or why they would walk away, given the parents' lies and their drug histories and the fact that Mommy was a stripper who was around drugs every night. Yet on Dec. 22, the caseworker, the in-home therapist and a supervisor signed off on the deal. "We ... agreed that there are not safety concerns that would require CPS to keep the case open," the caseworker wrote a month later. By then, the child was dead. On Jan. 8, we would later find out, Vanessa was killed and buried in the desert. Her body was found in April after Kesterson was arrested in San Diego on an unrelated matter and told police about the child. Martinez told authorities that Kesterson killed Vanessa because she was fussy. He has since committed suicide and Martinez is awaiting trial for murder. And us? We're left to ponder how the state failed Vanessa and, more importantly, how to make sure that it never happens again. According to a source inside the agency, two CPS employees have resigned and a third retired. A fourth person remains under investigation. DES Director Clarence Carter -- he who talks of the need for transparency -- declined to comment, on the advice of the agency's attorney. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. For now. In recent months, he's demoted some of the CPS brass, including the longtime program manager in Tucson where so many babies turn up dead, and he fired the caseworker for 22-month-old Za'Naya Flores, who starved to death in January. Now comes Vanessa, handed over by the state to die. "The majority of the individuals involved with this case are no longer with the Department," CPS assures us. That's good to know. But it doesn't come close to explaining what happened here. Reach Roberts at laurie.roberts@arizonarepublic.com.


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Please make note that I, Jessica Lynn Hepner the creator of What Every Parent Should Know, is not giving legal advice. I am not a lawyer. I am giving you knowledge via first hand experiences.
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Save A Life by Angie Kassabie

Save A Life by Angie Kassabie
I URGE ALL MY FRIENDS TO READ & SHARE THIS; YOU COULD SAVE A LOVED ONES LIFE BY KNOWING THIS SIMPLE INFORMATION!!! Stroke has a new indicator! They say if you forward this to ten people, you stand a chance of saving one life. Will you send this along? Blood Clots/Stroke - They Now Have a Fourth Indicator, the Tongue: During a BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) ...she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Jane's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 PM Jane passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today. Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead. It only takes a minute to read this. A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. >>RECOGNIZING A STROKE<< Thank God for the sense to remember the '3' steps, STR. Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions: S *Ask the individual to SMILE. T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. Chicken Soup) R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved. I have done my part. Will you?

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