Will caseworkers face discipline for death of Euclid child? Family speaks out (video)
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Child Welfare Review Panel reviewing how Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services handled the case of 4-year-old Aniya Day-Garrett and their policies completed the case review on June 28, but the results of report will not be released this week according to a county spokeswoman.
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish won't be available this week.
Monday evening, Cleveland 19 News reached out to the Garrett family to see what they'd hoped to hear from the expert panel's review. Mickhal Garrett held a press conference outside of the Cuyahoga County Administration Building Tuesday evening to air his frustration with county government:
The Child Welfare Review Panel completed its review on June 28, 2018, and it has since been presented to Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish.
The actual case recommendation file is currently with the law department to determine which parts of the review are considered public records for release.
The entire review of the case and the division's policies took about three months to complete.
The big question for most is whether the panel will recommend Aniya's caseworkers be disciplined internally – or even terminated.
Did the workers and the system do everything they possibly could to help prevent Aniya's death? What could have been done differently, if anything? We will soon know the answers to those questions.
On March 11, Aniya died in her mother's apartment. Sierra Day and her mother's boyfriend Deonte Lewis were both arrested, charged and later indicted for Aniya's murder.
According to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office, Aniya was malnourished and died from head trauma complications. The full autopsy report is not yet available.
Aniya Day-Garrett, age 4, of Euclid, Ohio was known to the Cuyahoga County Children Department of Children and Family Services system at the time of her death.
CCCFS had recently investigated complaints of abuse and neglect against Aniya, but after six weeks, said there wasn't enough evidence to remove her from her mother, Sierra Day's home.
In a March 27 news release, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish stated that "Aniya Day-Garrett's death is a tragedy" and that they too "must thoroughly investigate the case and our practices at the Department of Children and Family Services."
Executive Budish compiled a panel of six local and national experts to review Aniya's case and the county's procedures.
Could the Cuyahoga County Children Protective Service workers have saved Aniya's life?
There are growing concerns over who could have stopped Aniya's death. Did CCCFS have enough evidence to have removed Aniya from her home when CCCFS investigated her case in May 2017?
After all, the county did receive three calls regarding Aniya being abused in 2017. In addition to those calls, Aniya's father Mickhal Garrett had recently filed an affidavit with Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court in December 2017 to get the process rolling to gain back custody of Aniya. In a letter to the court, Garrett stated he felt his daughter was being abused at home. He said he had a home where Aniya could even have her own room.
What about the people who saw Aniya every day? Could they have saved Aniya's life?
The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services investigated two childcare facilities after a complaint was filed following Aniya Day-Garrett's death. ODJFS found that Harbor Crest Childcare Academy and Get Ready, Get Set, Grow Preschool both in Euclid, Ohio failed to report injury and incidents observations to public children service agencies, as they are mandated by the state to do so. Aniya attended Harbor Crest between 2015 and 2017 and Get Ready, Get Set, Grow from June 2017 through the time of her death. It's also been reported that Aniya's mother worked at Get Ready, Get Set, Grow.
At Harbor Crest, there were child observation forms sitting in Aniya Day-Garrett's folder untouched between August 2015 – May 2017. It was only when Aniya arrived at Harbor Crest in May 2017 with visible head trauma and was bleeding from the ear that the facility called for an ambulance and turned over the "child observation forms" that were stacking up in her folder at the center. Reports that said, "mommy did it."
At Get Ready, Get Set, Grow the ODJFS also discovered that the facility was not reporting abuse and neglect, injuries and incidents to local public children service agencies. The facility also wasn't maintaining "Incident/Injury Report for Child Care" for a minimum of one year. It's believed that Aniya Day-Garrett's mother was employed at the facility.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is currently in the process of, after investigating complaints against both daycares involved, revoking their licenses.
Sierra Day has a pretrial conference in court Tuesday, July 10.
Day and her boyfriend Deonte Lewis are being held on aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault, kidnapping, permitting child abuse, endangering children and tampering with evidence charges.
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