Skip to comments.Vilsack: Human Services acted correctly in Miller case
Posted on 10/11/2005 4:15:09 AM PDT by richierichIII
DES MOINES Gov. Tom Vilsack said Monday he remains satisfied the Iowa Department of Human Services responded appropriately to complaints that 5-year-old Evelyn Miller had faced abuse or neglect before she was kidnapped and slain.
The Floyd County child disappeared from her home July 1 and was found dead in the Cedar River five days later, the victim of what authorities say is homicide.
No one has been charged in her death and abduction. But since her death, Casey Frederiksen, the live-in boyfriend of the girls mother, has been charged with possessing more than 1,000 images of child pornography.
A joint report by the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier and Mason City Globe Gazette this week quoted neighbors who reported observing drug use by Evelyns mother and fiance in the home.
But Vilsack said he hadnt seen evidence of that in the DHS reports.
There wasnt anything in the record that I reviewed that would suggest all of the problems that have now come to light, Vilsack said. Clearly, this was not a perfect family, but there wasnt anything to suggest that this youngster was going to be abducted or killed or was in any physical danger.
He said he isnt in a position to say whether that DHS report was complete or accurate.
I think it was accurate at the time, Vilsack said. Obviously conditions over time deteriorated and were faced with the circumstance were faced with today.
He said Evelyns mother did everything DHS asked her to do, and drug tests administered in the case came back negative.
The reports that were submitted in the Evelyn Miller situation suggested concerns expressed by family members, people who had an ax to grind, people whose credibility was a bit suspect. They were looked into, Vilsack said.
Vilsack said the reports did not hint at any allegations of child pornography that have been leveled against Frederiksen, the live-in boyfriend of Evelyn Millers mother, Noel Miller.
Hindsights always 20/20, and anytime a young child is hurt we always have to ask ourselves how can we do better the next time to make sure this doesnt happen again, Vilsack said.
And I would hope that thats whats happening, and I believe it is happening in the Department of Human Services. Were constantly trying to figure out ways to do our job better.
State Sen. Amanda Ragan, a Mason City Democrat, said she hasnt seen the report on how DHS responded to complaints in the Miller case before her death but was told the agency followed proper procedures. She said its unlikely the question of whether DHS acted appropriately will be answered until the case is solved.
Community leaders in the Charles City and Floyd area are talking about what they can do to protect vulnerable children, Ragan said.
I think a lot of people in the community are talking about it. Weve been meeting with local people to see what we can do so we dont have another situation, she said.
Charlotte Eby can be reached at (515) 243-0138 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
My take is that the Governor feels that with the information known, the agency did what it was supposed to.
We'll let you know our opinion after we have seen and digested the reports. I don't want to speak ill if any person or agency unless it is deserved, neither do I wish to endorse their activities unless I have all of the facts before me.
There are definitely improvements to the DHS system that would make it more effective and I will elaborate on that area at a later time. For now everything should be focused on the investigation and bringing those responsible for Evelyn's death to justice.
Amazing what can be found after a child is murdered.
. Clearly, this was not a perfect family, but there wasnt anything to suggest that this youngster was going to be abducted or killed or was in any physical danger.
Of course there was nothing to suggest that she was going to be abducted or killed..But, there were suggestions that she was in a bad environment. That is the point.. NO one expects any one to guess if a child will be abducted and killed, but do expect allegations of neglect, which at this point, there were, to be investigated.
I'm sure a lot of people would take issue with this statement, but it seems pretty obvious to me what happened and what should be done about it. Got rope?
"He said Evelyns mother did everything DHS asked her to do, and drug tests administered in the case came back negative."
I think the point is they didn't actually ask her to do much. She refused to give hair samples from her kids for testing, and she probably diluted her urine in her own drug tests.
Clearly, these people were drug users. But apparently DHS's investigative skills are honed enough to have determined that even though they were told about it time and time and time again.
A-ha. Just as we thought. Andy Christie's reports of drug use were discounted because he is her non-custodial parent.
But, there is also this:
[Vilsack] said Evelyns mother did everything DHS asked her to do, and drug tests administered in the case came back negative.
How can this be, given what neighbors said about Evelyns mother's lifestyle?
Conflicting, definitely. Unfortunately, none of the parties, including DHS, is a credible information source.
In some states, drug use of itself is not sufficient cause for a finding of abuse or neglect.
"In some states, drug use of itself is not sufficient cause for a finding of abuse or neglect."
In Iowa, it is.
Governor "I Want To Raise My National Profile And Will Say Anything To Protect My Reputation" isn't going to admit there were any failures in a system that he's been overseeing and supposedly improving.
In Iowa, we've had 3 recent high profile child murders: Shelby Duis, Jetseta Gage, and Evelyn Miller. Three very different cases, three very different little girls in three different areas of the state. The one thing all three girls had in common was prior contact with DHS. So the Governor can't try to tell me that DHS is doing its job when so many of the kids "in the system" are winding up murdered.
We have a similar problem in North Carolina. DHS insists they're doing everything that could possibly be expected of human beings ... but the children still end up dead.
bump for that poor murdered child Evelyn, and that those responsible who failed her and murdered her are brought to justice.
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