Create a Kimmi Law
Create criminal laws and punishments in Fatal Child Abuse and Neglect Cases,
This is a call to action to create a charge in cases of Fatal Child Abuse and Child Neglect Resulting in Death
I feel South Dakota has failed to address problems within the judicial system, noncompliance by mandated reporters, and system wide training inadequacies.
The Need for an Additional Homicide Statute
36 States have adopted a specific child abuse homicide statute. Many of these statutes appear to have been passed quickly in reaction to a particular, horrific child abuse homicide. Perhaps this accounts for the wide variability in these statutes.
I researched several States’ Child abuse and Neglect law’s, and I found with the increase of South Dakota’s population. Alcohol, and drug abuse. The Lack of education, in car seat safety, and safe sleeping conditions, our infant mortality rate will continue to increase, as it has for the past 10 years. Until we come together as a community and stop this miss treatment of young children.
I found these recommendations, and summery from the North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute, an article called FACING THE FACTS Criminal Consequences of Child Abuse Homicides
1.Uniform policies and protocols should be considered for use by all involved agencies in the investigation of unexpected, unexplained child deaths, along with training in this regarded. Consideration should be given to ensuring automatic and routine investigation by law enforcement in these cases. This would enhance understanding of the causes of these deaths, would include potential child abuse homicides without creating the stigma of singling out some parents/caregivers, and would enhance the prosecution of those cases in which a crime has occurred.
2.The addition of a new statute – Child Abuse Homicide or Felony Child Abuse Resulting in Death – should be considered as part of the homicide statutes. This would give prosecutors, judges, and juries an option between murder and involuntary manslaughter, and would facilitate pleas and judgments that more appropriately reflect the circumstances of the crime. Special training in this regard for prosecutors and judges should be considered.
The Need for Better Investigations
It is important to recognize that successful prosecution requires sufficient evidence, which requires excellent investigation, which requires a secure crime scene, which requires quick identification of the crime. Meeting this standard is particularly challenging in the case of the unexpected, unexplained death of a child. Thus, it is critical that many systems – emergency medical services, medical/hospital providers, law enforcement, medical examiners, and social services – collaborate effectively for prosecutors to present a case.
Perhaps the most serious problem with the current system is the lack of an over-all protocol for involving law enforcement in the initial response to a child’s severe injury or death. When the initial supposition is that the injury or death was accidental, law enforcement may not react correctly, and call in other agencies to help with investigations. Under this circumstance, it is possible that such notification may not occur until the final cause and manner of death is determined by the medical examiner. This may be weeks, days, and sometimes months later.
The recommendations, however, are intended to substantially improve the balance between equity in cases that have similar circumstances, justice for the victims, and protection for other children. Moreover, a thoughtful, coherent process by agencies (with regard to uniform protocols for investigation) and the legislature (with regard to additional options for charges) can send a powerful message. A carefully coordinated administrative and legislative response would be more symbolic in addressing the current impression that lives of children are simply not valued as much as the lives of adults. Hopefully, the resulting change would be the goal that everyone should aspire: The reduction of fatal child abuse, and neglect.
North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute FACING THE FACTS Criminal Consequences of Child Abuse Homicides
Why this new statue is important to me
I am hoping for this additional homicide statue because on August 2, 2011 my husband and I lost our 10-month-old daughter, while she was in the care of an 18 year old babysitter. From 3:00pm to 5:15pm, for only two and a half hours between our shifts.
At first as we were watching them unsuccessfully revive my daughter, trying to figure out what happened, and why? I thought Oh this poor girl, how will this affect her and the rest of her life. What a terrible thing to happen.
You can’t imagine how traumatic it is to stand by helplessly and watch hospital staff stick tubes and needles in your unresponsive child. And then to watch her little body convulse while they take electric paddles to her little chest. To hear a heart beat for just one second and stop again. And all the sudden everyone just stops grab their equipment and walk out of the room. To be told there’s nothing they can do, as your child lies there lifeless. This scene will never leave my mind.
I thought to myself, why isn’t she here, with my child? And then to find out from the police and police reports that the sitter had not followed any of the instructions, I had given her. And that she had placed my child in her car seat not properly fastening the straps, then placed her in another room, and shut the door on her. She did not even check on my daughter for 45 minutes until the time my husband was to arrive.
My child had strangled on her car seat straps. She should never have been put in that situation. Car seats are not babysitters; they are not made to restrain children.
It clearly states on the car seat in red bold print. “Warning never LEAVE child unattended.” It is against Federal Regulation’s to use a car seat for anything except safe travel in a vehicle. But laws and regulations don’t seem to matter.
In our tragic situation, I feel my daughter’s death did not receive a proper investigation. Nor do I feel the case was worked diligently. For two reasons, first this was the same day, even the same time that the fatal shooting of two Rapid City police officer occurred.
I believe the sitter received preferential treatment, in this investigation. I question the investigation outcome and the investigators’ impartiality since Kimmi’s caregiver has been a member of the police department’s Law Enforcement Explorer program since 2009. And the first arriving officer was on a first name basis. I feel at this point and time this whole situation changed. I believe the State police should have been called in.
Through out the police reports there are many inconsistencies, times, and statements, from the three people that were at the residents at the time my daughter was to be cared for. The investigator never produced a time line of events to help clear these inconstancies up.
Another of my concerns; it stated in the police report that the room Kimmi was in had several empty beer cans through out the room. My question is why wasn’t a drug and alcohol test performed? Any one else would have been tested.
In accordance to Rapid City Police department policy and procedure manual;
Policy # 613-02 Section: Crimes Against Persons,
Subject: Child Abuse Investigations:
Policy Statement #7.
Neglected child as defined by SDCL 26-8A-2
It is the policy of the Rapid City Police Department to conform to the provisions of SDCL 26-10-l regarding the investigation of abuse of minors.
It will also be the Rapid City Police Department's policy to provide for the investigations of all allegations of child abuse falling under the following codified laws:
1. Rape as defined by SDCL 22-22-l
2. Sexual penetration as defined by SDCL 22-22-2
3. Sexual contact with child under sixteen as defined by SDCL 22-22-7
4. Sexual contact as defined by SDCL 22-22-7.1
5. Incest as defined by SDCL 22-22-19.1
6. Photographing a child in obscene act as defined by SDCL 22-22-23
7. Neglected child as defined by SDCL 26-8A-2
8. Aggravated assault as defined by SDCL 22-18-l.l
For purposes of this policy a child is defined by SDCL 26-7A-I.
1. Once an initial report is received, it is necessary to insure that the Department of Social Services has been notified. In the event that this was not done, The Department of Social Services must be notified as soon as possible so that a caseworker can be contacted to assist.
Why was my daughter’s death not reported to the Child Protection Services, and why were they not brought in on the investigation? A child improperly place in a car seat, and put in another room with the door shut. In a house were 3 people are, and the child dies in less than two hour. This doesn’t meet the criteria of neglect? I reported my daughter’s case to Child Protection Services on October 5, 2011. They were appalled that they hadn’t been called in, and agreed with me that this was gross neglect of my child. But then informed me if the Police had closed this case there was nothing they could do.
South Dakota does have mandatory Reporting laws:
SDCL 26-8A-3, 26-8A-8, 26-8a-10.) Rules for Mandatory Reporting.
Any person required to make a report involving an abused or neglected child or who is required to report a child who has died as a result of child abuse and neglect but who knowingly and intentionally fails to do so is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Are Child Maltreatment Fatalities Properly Reflected in Death Certificates?
Although child fatality review teams have been formed in every state and the District of Columbia, NCANDS remains the sole national system that tracks child maltreatment death, typically just those cases that reach CPS. Experts believe that there are likely more deaths each year due to child abuse and neglect than are reported to CPS and other agencies. According to researchers. Although the federal government had concluded in 1993 that death certificates underreported child maltreatment fatalities, to date it has not done anything to remedy the problem.
Read more: How Many Children are Maltreated? - Deaths From Child Maltreatment - Fatalities, Certificates, Abuse, and Review http://www.libraryindex.com/pages/1385/How-Many-Children-are-Maltreated-DEATHS-FROM-CHILD-MALTREATMENT.html#ixzz1iAQbAhqM
The corner ruled my daughter’s death as positional affixation, on the death certificate.
The definition of:
Positional asphyxia: a child’s face becomes trapped in soft bedding or wedged in a small space such as between a mattress and a wall or between couch cushions.
Strangulation: a rope, cords, hands or other objects strangle a child.
My daughter strangled to death on the car seat strap.
By creating a change of law I hope that future lives are not put at risk due to child neglect or abuse, in this case the baby sitter was not charged with a crime as current South Dakota law does not allow for that charge. And child abuse laws were never looked into.
Although I may never know the child that life may be saved, just for the simple fact if charges like this were available to the prosecution, people would eventually stop and think. “ Hey I better treat this child, I have committed to care for with respect and do my job, or I could go to prison.” The same as if I make the choice to drink and drive, and I kill or hurt someone I will be held accountable.
I keep asking why, why my baby, they say God has a plan a reason, well what could be the reason. And I have this strong passion to learn everything I can and stop this from ever happening again. But how? This law is the path I seem to keep taking. I know it will do nothing in my daughter’s case, and I have come to terms with this. I know I must forgive, in order to be forgiven in God’s graces, so that I do not become a bitter ugly person.
I have 1600 hundred signatures, 1600 hundred people agree with me that we need better laws in situations, like this.
So I ask please fellow parents and all South Dakotans sign my petition, and let take a stand against fatal child abuse and neglect.
I challenge State Attorney General Marty Jackley, The Governor of South Dakota Dennis Daugaard, Linda Daugaard, (Who seem to have an interest in Infant mortality.) South Dakota Legislator members, and the Mayor of Rapid City Sam Kooiker, to take an interest in our children, check out the facts and statistics on our children mortality, and lets do something about it. The saddest part of situations like this is that it doesn’t seem to matter to people until it hits close to home. I pray that no one has to go threw this pain and loss. I sometimes think it would be easier to accept if my child had died of natural causes, not because of neglect of another human who I entrusted with the care of the most important person in my life.
CHILREN'S DEFENSE FUND
Children in South Dakota January 2011
199,616 children live in South Dakota
A child is abused or neglected every 6hrs.
A child dies before his or her first birthday every 5 days.
A Few Facts about Child Abuse and Neglect
Fatal child abuse or neglect is the fatal physical injury or negligent treatment of a child by a person who is responsible for the child’s welfare. It is reported that 2,000 children in the U.S. die of child abuse and neglect each year, and the actual number of abuse and neglect deaths is estimated to be much higher than that reported by vital statistics data.
Many children who die from physical abuse have been abused over time, but a one-time event often causes death. The most common reason given by caretakers who fatally injure their children is that they lost patience when the child would not stop crying.
Fatalities from neglect include a number of different ways in which caregivers fail to adequately provide for or supervise their children. Caregivers may fail to provide food and nurturing to their child. Neglect cases can also result from intentional or grossly neglect failure to adequately supervise a child, resulting in bathtub drowning, suffocations, poisonings and other types of fatal incidents.
Your children are the most vulnerable victims. National statistics show that children under six years of age account for 86% of all maltreatment deaths and infants account for 43% of these deaths.
Taken from: NATIONAL MCH CENTER FOR CHILD DEATH REVIEW