Jennifer Ward, charged with first-degree murder in the shaking death of her 9-month-old daughter, is set to appear for a bail hearing in Salem Superior Court today.
Hopefully, the appearance by the 37-year-old Peabody resident will lead to more details about the Nov. 21 death of Jocelyn Ward Anderson, and how the state Department of Social Services handled her case.
So far, there has been little helpful information on that account. We do know, according to an agency spokesman, that until her death, DSS considered the girl's case "a success story."
There are many unanswered questions:
* Jennifer Ward was allowed to take her daughter home from the hospital after the Feb. 22 birth despite the fact both had illegal drugs in their system. (This contradicts an earlier statement by the DSS that the agency took the baby into custody after the birth.) Is it common practice to allow newborns to go home when they and their mother have drugs in their system?
* The infant was taken from Ward late the next month by DSS, which was responding to a complaint of neglect. She was returned in July, after Ward went through drug treatment and a parenting education program. Is a little more than three months enough time to deal with problems of drug abuse and neglect?
* Did the agency continue to monitor Ward after July and, if so, how closely was she monitored?................................
The right to privacy which is NOT in the Constitution protects the negligent and the miscreants. It doesn’t really protect the patient and was never meant to. It is the ultimate assault on patients and patient-victims.