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State report cites Washington County’s failures in child’s abuse death

2013-06-28T20:30:00Z State report cites Washington County’s failures in child’s abuse deathDON LEHMAN - dlehman@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
June 28, 2013 8:30 pm  • 

The state Office of Child and Family Services has criticized the Washington County Department of Social Services for not adequately investigating allegations that Gary Carpenter III was neglected and abused before he was killed by his mother’s boyfriend.

The 19-page report shows eight reports of suspected child abuse made to the state hotline and referred to the Washington County Department of Social Services before the boy was killed.

The Office of Child and Family Services has concluded two of eight child abuse reports and a followup request for investigation by a Family Court judge were not properly investigated. It directed that the county Department of Social Services “must develop a protocol to make sure each SCR (Statewide Central Register, aka child abuse hotline) report is adequately and completed (sic) investigated in accordance with the regulations.”

A call to the Washington County Department of Social Services was referred to Commissioner Tammy DeLorme, who an office staff member said was not available Friday.

County Attorney Roger Wickes said he had reviewed the report, and knew the Department of Social Services was working to address the concerns raised by the state agency. He said he could not specify what the department was doing in response and referred further comment to DeLorme.

“They have reviewed it and they are taking the action that they were required to do,” Wickes said.

The report does not make any mention of a hotline call that a Glens Falls woman testified she made two weeks before Carpenter was fatally injured by his mother’s boyfriend, Brandon Warrington.

It does, though, show that both Carpenter’s mother, Jennie Mattison, and his father, Gary Carpenter II, and other relatives were repeatedly accused of abuse and neglect between October 2009 and October 2012. The family lived in Hudson Falls and Granville for most of the boy’s life.

Most of the reports focused on allegations that the boy was being neglected and lived in unclean homes, but there were allegations of sexual abuse against three family acquaintances or relatives, that the child was under the influence of drugs at age 3 and had “rotten teeth” for which dental care was not sought.

The report shows the following:

* Oct. 13, 2009 -- A hotline report is made, accusing the mother of not providing adequate food, clothing, shelter and medical care. Carpenter was reportedly not being bathed or fed properly and had a rectal injury that was not treated. Washington County Department of Social Services investigated, found no injuries and ordered the home cleaned. The home was found to have improved during a followup visit two months later.

* July 9, 2010 -- A hotline call was received, alleging that Carpenter III was being sexually abused by a family acquaintance. It was investigated by Washington County DSS and Granville Police and determined to be “unfounded” because the person accused of the abuse hadn’t had contact with the child for more than two years.

* July 12, 2010 -- A hotline report was received, alleging the child had breathed in secondhand marijuana smoke and become intoxicated by it while at his father’s home. A drug screening was negative. After the father denied the allegations, he was ordered to have only supervised visitation.

* Jan. 9, 2011 -- A hotline report was received, alleging the mother and other maternal relatives had been providing inadequate food, clothing and shelter to Carpenter III. The home was visited and found to be “cluttered” and to lack potable water, and Washington County DSS closed the matter after determining no services were necessary.

* Aug. 21, 2011 -- A report was made to the hotline, alleging inadequate food, clothing, medical care and guardianship against the mother and maternal relatives. The caller said Carpenter was “filthy” and had “rotten teeth” in need of care that he was not getting. DSS visited, got the family on Medicaid for dental care and closed the case.

* June 1, 2012 -- A hotline report accused the father of not getting dental care for the boy’s teeth. Efforts to get dental care had stalled when the family repeatedly missed dentist appointments and a new dentist had to be found. Washington County DSS met with the family, visited the home and closed the case without action.

* Aug. 31, 2012 -- A hotline report was received, accusing Warrington of sexually abusing Carpenter III. Warrington was accused by a family member who told police the boy had accused him of sexual abuse. Warrington denied the allegations but would not take a lie detector test, and insufficient evidence was found for a criminal prosecution after Carpenter III also accused a second person. The family agreed not to leave Warrington alone with the boy. The family was homeless at the time, and Washington County DSS opened the case for “preventive services” on Sept. 27.

* Oct. 30, 2012 -- Washington County DSS referred a hotline complaint that a maternal relative had sexually abused the child to Warren County DSS because Mattison, Warrington and Carpenter III had moved to Glens Falls. Warren County DSS met with Carpenter at school on Nov. 8, found no sign of injuries and a “safety assessment” was completed. The complaint remained under investigation at the time of the boy’s death Nov. 16.

A final hotline report was made on Nov. 15, 2012, when Carpenter III was hospitalized with severe head injuries inflicted by Warrington. He died less than 24 hours later.

Warrington was convicted of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter earlier this month and is awaiting sentencing.

There were no indications that Carpenter was ever removed from the custody of his mother.

The Office of Child and Family Services found that Washington County DSS’s investigations of the Oct. 13, 2009 and June 1, 2012 hotline complaints and of a Dec. 16, 2009 court-ordered complaint were inadequate because insufficient followup interviews and visits with the family were done.

The circumstances of a hotline call that Glens Falls resident Erin Monroe testified she made on Nov. 1, reporting suspected physical abuse of the boy by Warrington, remained unclear.

OCFS has said that if a call with allegations like Monroe’s was made, it would have been investigated, but the agency has not formally commented on whether the call was received because of confidentiality rules.

Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan has asked OCFS to investigate the hotline calls, and OCFS spokeswoman Jennifer Givner said they were investigated but the state agency “found no evidence to substantiate her (Hogan’s) claims of recurring failures by the SCR to accept reports.”

Hogan said she has heard from numerous callers who claim their abuse calls were not accepted by hotline operators.

Givner said OCFS is “continuing to work with Washington County on a corrective action plan which will address child protective investigative practices and requirements.”

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(18) Comments

  1. nygeo
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    nygeo - July 05, 2013 9:30 am
    CPS investigations do not always make sense. This family had four generations living in one house, the youngest and oldest were not able to clean up after the two middle generations. The two middle generations were also responsible for caring for the child, making sure he was fed, clothed and brushed his teeth. Potable water issue, there are some areas in Washington County that the water is considered hard water, terrible tasting and smelling. Families bring in bottled water for cooking and drinking, if they cannot afford anything else they get gallons of water from others. The calls could of come from someone who really cared or had a grudge against a family member, no way of knowing. As for Warren County saying they talked to the child in school on November 8th, he wasn't enrolled from what I heard.
  2. Jonny
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    Jonny - July 03, 2013 10:51 am
    The main problem with OCFS is the sheer number of unfounded complaints filed by angry parents, trying to get their former partner/spouse in trouble and look bad for personal gain. I actually had a CPS worker complain about this situation to me years ago. People call in with ridiculous claims, taking time away from REAL child abuse such as this! It also makes it difficult to differentiate between what's real and unfounded.
  3. dexter
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    dexter - July 03, 2013 9:49 am
    If you don't qualify then you don't qualify. LDSS can't make someone qualify for benefits. With your application you sign a legal document that you are submitting the truth. If you don' qualify then you don't. It would be illegal to alter your documents to make you qualified. Also let me say that I am not a caseworker of any kind. I have never been near the Wash county DSS. I am an accountant. Just wanted to make that clear before it is said that my above view is because I am a worker of some sort. So why would my tax money go to someone who doesn't qualify? Your comment is frustrating.
  4. Behind the Mask
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    Behind the Mask - July 01, 2013 7:02 pm
    They damn well should look into it further. This blame gets placed all in one area...well how about...why didn't the SCR accept the supposed report made the day before the child died? Why did THEY not act on it? Counties can't do squat till a report is in their hands. It's against the law. So if this supposed call was made and the situation was as bad as it obviously was...why didn't the SCR accept it and forward it on to Warren County? Hmm? Why is the blame on Washington County for cases that are years old and truly had no direct impact on the tragedy that occurred? A report of bad teeth 3 years ago doesn't constitute a fatality report. Where was the state in all this? Or...did this Erin woman truly make a call??
  5. Behind the Mask
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    Behind the Mask - July 01, 2013 6:53 pm
    Well said!!
  6. Behind the Mask
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    Behind the Mask - July 01, 2013 6:52 pm
    Washington County workers can only go so far as the rules and regulations that NY State allows them to for each case. A case from years ago that, according to these reports, could not be indicated...isn't due to faulty investigating...but there are laws the workers have to follow that don't allow them to just swoop in and take children on a whim and a prayer. Perhaps people should be looking at the state level rather than the county workers who bust ass only to have dirt kicked at them. You know, people use the system as a form of retaliation by making false reports and guess what...all those reports have to be looked into...thus making it very difficult to focus all their undivided attention on cases where there truly is a need! What the hell has our society become that we place blame on those trying to help but whose hands are tied...rather than the low lives who commit the offenses to begin with?! Unless you spend time in a workers shoes or their day...no one truly knows.
  7. Rebelyell
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    Rebelyell - July 01, 2013 8:52 am
    How lame of the OCFS to publish info about past reports and only NOW to imply these were not properly investigated by Wash Cty THEN. The OCFS has the authority and the ability monitor and scrutinize all casework activity anytime. They can reject a report determination when submitted. However, when under fire, for a possible cover up, the OCFS(SCR) has determined by it's own investigation of it's own agency that they "found no evidence to substantiate her (Hogan's) claims of recurring failures by the SCR to accept reports". But heck, they must have burgeoning calls and cases too. The Attorney General's office should be looking into this.Still want to know if Erin Monroe made that call. This should be not swept under the blanket of a large and powerful agency who only answers to itself. Can the Post Star investigate this further?
  8. WashCoOldtimer
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    WashCoOldtimer - June 30, 2013 10:30 pm
    I hope that the Post Star doesn't let this issue be swept under the carpet. This is about the death of a child. It seems to me that a Grand Jury investigation should take place on the heels of this OCFS investigation so that if someone didn't do their job that they are held accountable before another child dies. I am sure CPS workers have heavy caseloads and are overwhelmed but where are their supervisors? If the need is there then present a case to hire more help. I'd rather spend money on more CPS workers than $20,000.00 desks in the dispatch center. Yes, they should have the necessary equipment to do their jobs but I am sure even they would concede that no child should die for lack of enough qualified CPS workers. I doubt CPS workers make decisions in a vacuum though so let's investigate the management staff. Why the BOS supports a Commissioner who has been in the news for huge budget shortfalls, Disney trips and now this is beyond me. We need a new Board of Supervisors.
  9. cracker jack
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    cracker jack - June 30, 2013 10:50 am
    Wash county fails again govt is more corrupted everyday with people in charge that shouldn't be but they know the right people so their in .
  10. something is wrong
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    something is wrong - June 29, 2013 7:22 pm
    Yes it' a masqurade called Washington County Government. Take off their mask so we can see their faces. Nothing but excuses in this county! Did the checks get signed or were they overwhelmed too.
  11. hockey
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    hockey - June 29, 2013 6:31 pm
    wash. cty goes after innocent people, they keep on and on and on when people are clearly innocent. then when cases like this happen they are over loaded. they need a shake up from the top starting first. we all know its broken yet people who need help cant get it and innocent people are wrongly harassed. shame on you wash. cty.
  12. Rebelyell
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    Rebelyell - June 29, 2013 5:39 pm
    Amen, Washoldtimer! And to add to the duck and dodge dance going on -the SCR/OCFS is claiming Wash Co CPS has not done their job thoroughly. The people at the SCR/OCFS- need to get back out into the field and do some front line investigations. Not merely read case notes from some ergonomically correct easy chair with the A/C on. The OCFS's is clueless and smug about the enormous and tedious amount of paperwork THEY require from a front line caseworker to complete for each investigation. Not to mention the case worker must keep up with an ever burgeoning case load. Their tangle of mandatory and redundant paperwork takes vital time away from the people contact and may hinder a case worker from having adequate time to delve into an investigation. When is the SCR/OCFS going to definitively reveal whether or not Erin Monroe made the complaint she claims to have done? To hide behind the confidentiality card is rather a mute point considering the tragedy.
  13. pfenton
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    pfenton - June 29, 2013 1:55 pm
    And she "slides" her way through the court process by turning states' evidence on her boyfriend instead of facing the same charges her boyfriend was convicted on and now she wants custody of her other child? This "Lets Make a Deal" process by elected D.A.'s is what's really wrong with the system instead of these officials doing the job they were elected (or is it "expected}) to do!
  14. chaosinc
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    chaosinc - June 29, 2013 1:28 pm
    This is about as low as it gets for Washington County Social Services. They had an open services case...that means a caseworker was supposedly making regular visits to the home...and still this little boy is dead six weeks later. And some "corrective action" plan is supposed to be formulated that will "address" the issues, like there might be a corrective action plan adequate to raise the dead. Too little and way too late for Gary Carpenter III. Is anybody else just about sick over this?
  15. Behind the Mask
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    Behind the Mask - June 29, 2013 11:10 am
    This is a terrible tragedy indeed...but what some people don't realize is the massive caseload the workers in CPS have...or Foster Care for that matter. They work tirelessly to help hundreds and hundreds of families...but when you only have about 20 CPS workers...you do the math. Unfortunately there are also state laws in place that they have to follow when investigating cases...it's not something they can control. While it is terrible on the rare chance that a fatality occurs...it cannot all be blamed on workers.
  16. WashCoOldtimer
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    WashCoOldtimer - June 29, 2013 1:41 am
    Shame, shame, there is a lot of blame to go around here. The Board of Supervisors has stood by a Commissioner who isn't qualified, and then went about pulling strings to get her unqualified friend a job that has serious implications when not done well. Now, we see the end result in the death of an innocent child. It's time for the gig to be up. Innocent children should not die because of political appointments and gains. Put qualified individuals in the positions where lives are at stake because no matter what the County Attorney says, this won't end here. Time for Commissioner DeLorme to be gone and take her cronies with her. She should be ashamed of the job she has done.
  17. nascargrl12809
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    nascargrl12809 - June 28, 2013 10:53 pm
    I know that I personally made two of these phone calls after the child was in mine and my friends care and the aunt showed concern so I took it upon myself to make sure that it was investigated and look at what happened. How they say itwas unfounded when I myself witness bruises and things that should never be seen on a four year old is beyond me the state and the county need to step up and take some responsibility if they had done their job in October this never would have happened. Love u lil man may u rest in peace. As a tear falls from eye I must say u are in a better place the only time u found serenity was when u where away from the people that brought u harm
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    H0LLYWOOD - June 28, 2013 10:14 pm
    This just affirms what most in Washington County have known all along. The staff and supervisors at that facility do not, and can not perform their jobs to the high standard that the public demands. I myself have had to resort to asking DSS for assistance at times. Only to be turned away because in their words, "You do not meet our criteria." I wonder how many people out there in Washington County that are without power, housing, or food because of the continued oversight's in this office. In the case of Gary Carpenter III, I believe that DSS has committed Criminal Neglect of the highest level. I do hope that things change. Because we can not have more children lose their lives.


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