4-year-old Kharisma Richardson died earlier this year as a result of actions taken by her mother, Daveeta Walker. In addition to severe burns and blisters, the child had also sustained blunt force trauma to the chest, and multiple bruises. The young Kalamazoo mother was convicted of torturing and abusing her young daughter to death, and was recently sentenced to life in prison.
During the course of the criminal trial, however, Child Protective Services also opened an investigation into the family, having already removed Walker’s other three children, boys aged 6,5 and 2, at the time that Kharisma was found dead. But some believed that CPS’s actions were a day late and a dollar short, as it were. Could this little girl’s death have been prevented? Did the agency do all that they could to ensure that she wasn’t being abused?
As a result, the The state office of the Children’s Ombudsman opened an investigation into how CPS handled this particular case. In an attempt to determine whether or not Kharisma’s death could have been avoided if CPS had acted sooner, the watchdog agency followed up on every interaction that CPS had with this family.
Although the investigation did reveal that there had been technical violations that CPS had committed during the course of their interactions with Walker and her children, it was determined that correcting these would not have prevented Kharisma’s death. As a result, the case has now been closed and CPS is considered to be in the clear.
For those of you who are wondering who and what the Office of Children’s Ombudsman is, here is a quick overview. The OCO is the state agency tasked with overseeing Child Protective Services in the state of Michigan. It is their job to ensure that CPS is doing their job, and doing it properly.
According to the OCO’s website, their purpose is to “independently investigate complaints about children involved with protective services, foster care, adoption services, and juvenile justice.” In addition, they also “investigate cases involving children who have died as a result of child abuse or neglect when there has been previous agency involvement.” Because Walker had prior contact with CPS, and her daughter died as a result of abuse, the task of determining if that death was preventable fell to the OCO.
Although the OCO oversees CPS and their interactions with families in the child welfare system, there are a number of things outside their sphere of influence. This includes Law Enforcement, Friend of the Court, Judges, Guardianship issues, and problems with Schools.
If you have concerns about how CPS is handling your case, or you believe that an agency worker has violated protocol or failed to follow the law, contact us immediately. We can help you fight back against the invasive and bullying tactics that CPS employs, and also report them to the OCO in the event that they have violated the law or overstepped their bounds. Battling CPS is very hard, and takes a great deal of time and resources. So call the Kronzek Firm today at 866-346-5879. We have been doing this for decades, and we can help you too.