Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Child Services Procedures Scrutinized Amid Abuse Allegations of Adopted Children
Wednesday, an Anchorage woman was arrested on several counts of child abuse. Several neighbors say they alerted authorities, but nothing happened.
The Alaska Office of Children’s Services receives thousands of complaints every year regarding potential child abuse in the community, and say the alleged abuse involving Anya Ardin James, 51, was not overlooked contrary to what neighbors believe.
Several neighbors who live near the Anchorage hillside home where the alleged abuse of six adopted children took place said they filed numerous complaints to OCS over the last two years, but say nothing was done. OCS Director Christy Lawton said the case was investigated.
“Every single time we're doing an investigation or an assessment for safety it requires that we're in the home and that we're interviewing the children separately,” she said. “Away from their caregiver, so their not being influenced by their caretaker."
Officials say when they respond to complaints they make unannounced visits to a family, which can sometimes seem normal at the time.
“We’re getting just a little tiny snapshot window picture when we're there on that day, things might be great, things might look different than if we’re there a week later,” said Lawton.
“We can’t predict human behavior and can’t control evil the world,” she said, and agree say it's tough for them to predict what the intentions are of foster parents.
However, the agency does acknowledge that it needs to do more to prevent tragic events like this from happening.
“We’re looking at what happened and what could we have done better or what could we have done differently,” said Lawton.