Responding Ind. officers to be notified of child welfare cases

Indianapolis Star

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - After weeks of reviewing documents and interviewing people tied to the tragic life of 3-year-old Tajanay Bailey, the Department of Child Services released its conclusions late Friday.

James Payne, Director of the Indiana Department of Child Services, says perhaps the most important lesson to be gained from Tajanay's tragic death is when there's a sense of urgency, it needs to be communicated.     

After 3-year-old Tajanay Bailey died late last month and her mother and mother's boyfriend were charged with her murder, the public got angry. The community wanted to know how a child in the care of the state could be returned to people accused of hurting her. Court, and department of child services documents, hundreds of pages, showed a history of abuse, drug use, and filth in Bailey's home.

Child Advocates, an agency that represents children in the welfare system, was prepared to ask the court to again remove Tajanay from her home but the Director of the Indiana Department of Child Services says no one expressed a sense of urgency. He says one reason for that is social workers didn't know that about two weeks before the little girl's death, police had made a domestic violence run to her address.

Friday, DCS petitioned the court and got permission to release information on about 500 cases in Marion County to a law enforcement computer system. The information will allow officers responding to an emergency call to know when to expect a child there under the state's watch. The officers can then communicate back to social workers.

Director Payne had put two employees who worked on the Bailey on desk duty. He says he did that to allow them time to heal and not as punishment.

Payne said there will be no disciplinary action taken as a result of Tajanay's death, but those close to the case would go through further training and mentoring.

Copyright 2007 The Indianapolis Star

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