Alleged child neglect case in Amarillo raises concerns - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Alleged child neglect case in Amarillo raises concerns

 AMARILLO, TX - A babysitter says three children are living in deplorable conditions and is unhappy with the way police and Child Protective Services are handling the case. 
     
Ali Johnson and Jeana Duck sent NewsChannel 10 more than a half dozen photographs they say were snapped inside a central Amarillo home where children live.
 
"The house is falling apart," Johnson said. "There are holes in the walls. The ceiling is missing in places. There's windows missing that are boarded up in places. They can't bathe. There is no hot water. There's no heat to the house." 
     
Both women say over the years, they've babysat the three children who live there.
 
"The house has been in this type of condition for at least 2 years that I'm aware of," Johnson said.
 
After she says her plea's with the mother to get her act together fell on deaf ears, she decided to file a police report.
 
"I'm at a loss," she said. "I'm worried for these kids." 
 
The mother recently turned herself into the Potter County Detention Center after warrants were issued for her arrest for allegedly failing to take her children to school.
 
Johnson says the mother is now back at home with her kids and that police don't seem to be too worried.
 
"He (the investigating officer) just took our affidavits and called it an incident," she said. "He said 'I know how you feel when we go to serve warrants and see children living in the same situations."
 
The Amarillo Police Department confirmed a complaint was made and officers filed the proper paperwork, but said the case ultimately goes to CPS.      
 
They are the ones that have the authority to take the child out of the house and place him or her with somebody else," Cpl. Jerry Neufeld said.   
 
Neufeld added an exception would be made if officers determine a child is in immediate danger.

Since this case wasn't categorized as a life-threatening emergency, the paperwork process and investigation is now in the hands of Child Protective Services case workers. 
 
"Once we receive a report of abuse, we assign the case to an investigator," CPS child safety specialist Penny Ferguson said.
 
However, Duck and Johnson say they are less than pleased with their investigation.
 
"CPS has been involved plenty of times and they do nothing," Duck said.
 
Because the investigation is ongoing, CPS can't release an further details about the case.
 
However, they assure residents they investigate every claim that lands on their desk to the fullest extent possible.
 
Meanwhile, NewsChannel 10 went to the mother's address to get her side of the story.
 
We knocked on her door twice, but nobody answered the door.
 
Duck and Johnson say the mother has not been voluntarily complying with the CPS investigation.
 
CPS says whenever they deal with cases where the family doesn't comply, they have the ability to go get a court order from the county attorney's office to force the mother to cooperate with their investigation.
 
However, the agency gives the mother a specified amount of time to voluntarily work with them on their case before escalating the matter.
 
CPS says their investigations last about 30 days.
 
NewsChannel 10 is not revealing the identity of the mother and her home address for the protection of her children.
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