DCFS: Toddler’s case went to caseworker who resigned

The Dept. Of Child & Family Services, DCFS, received a report to the child abuse hotline on October 21, 2022, by an anonymous reporter alleging that a mother was using marijuana in the presence of her children, including on October 20, 2022.

On October 21, 2022, the case was immediately assigned to a DCFS supervisor, who was recently reassigned to “caseworker duties” to help with the high influx of cases.

Within three days of the assignment, she put in her resignation, but continued to work for another five days to complete case activities. Her last day was Sunday, October 30, 2022.

On Friday, October 28, 2022, she sent an email to her manager advising of no contact on this specific case of the mother allegedly using marijuana in front of her children. The employee’s manager however, was on sick leave on Friday the 28th, and returned to work on Monday, October 31st.

After testifying in court proceedings, she returned to the office and began reviewing emails and reassigning cases. In the process of reassigning cases, she received notification that J’ahrei Paul, a 20-month-old baby, died.

DCFS previously investigated J’ahrei Paul’s mother due to marijuana use during her pregnancies. Louisiana law requires the Department of Children and Family Services to initiate an investigation of neglect when a newborn is exposed to any illegal substance or other substance used in an unlawful manner.

There were no indications of other drug use, and no other substances were discovered in standard meconium tests.

The agency initiated investigations according to state law, and there were never any concerns reported by medical professionals regarding the care of her children. There were never any other allegations or reports of abuse and neglect on these children.

During the investigation, DCFS learned that the mother was in prison in Texas during the time of the anonymous report and had been since at least August 2022.

J’ahrei’s mother and father were not living together prior to her incarceration.

Case notes indicate that the mother made arrangements for the children to live with their father while she was in prison.

The agency never received any reports alleging abuse or neglect by J’ahrei’s father; this includes any concerns related to substance use.

It was learned through investigation that the children were living with their father at the time of the intake.

J’ahrei’s father had no previous investigations as a perpetrator of abuse and/or neglect. Since this time, the other three children have been removed and placed in the custody of the department pending the completion of the investigation.

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