Help Rockbridge Area DSS keep children safe! RADSS Board members must be replaced!
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The Commonwealth of Virginia has, at best, a dysfunctional and ineffective system of Child Protective Services (CPS). A recent Special Grand Jury looking at Rockbridge Area Dept. of Social Services in Lexington, VA was unable to indict anyone after the supervisor, Brenda Perry, shredded multiple reports of child abuse rather than investigate them. Two babies died and four children were sexual abused as a direct result. The Special Grand Jury released a scathing report of the CPS system in Virginia, the Piedmont region, and Lexington, VA. The Special Grand Jury specifically noted " dysfunction in the CPS agency from top to bottom including the RADSS Board of Directors, both operationally and administratively."
This includes a need to create legislation in Virginia so it is actually illegal for Virginia DSS employees to shred documents and refuse to do their job, with no fear of being fired or held criminally responsible when children die and/or are sexually assaulted as a result of their negligence. At this point, Virginia legislation, and Virginia's dysfunctional state CPS process allows DSS workers to shred documents of severe child abuse or neglect instead of following procedure and entering them into the state computer system. Virginia DSS workers may do this if it is late in the day and they don't want to work late, or even if it is just raining, or because they can't be be bothered to do their job. NOT illegal in Virginia. Even if local law enforcement calls for the assistance of a local DSS office, local DSS workers are not required by law to respond, even when children are in immediate danger. NOT illegal in Virginia. Won't even get you fired if your Director doesn't want to fire you.
Our next effort will be to demand changes in Virginia legislation through Governor McAuliffe's office, so if you feel moved to call and express concern, please do so. (804)786-2211
If you live outside of Lexington, VA, in Virginia or beyond, please sign our petition in support and solidarity.
Follow the issue on our Facebook page "Fixing Rockbridge DSS."
We will be attending all Rockbridge Board of Supervisors, Buena Vista and Lexington City Council meetings to share petition signatures and continue to demand that all the members of the Rockbridge Area Department of Social Services board be replaced. This is the board that was in place while four children were repeatedly raped and sexually abused and two other babies died
To the honorable members of the Rockbridge County (VA) Board of Supervisors, Lexington, VA City Council, and Buena Vista VA CityCouncil, the Petition of the undersigned concerned residents of Lexington, VA states the following:
On September 28, 2016, the Circuit Court of Rockbridge County impaneled a Special Grand Jury (SGJ) “to investigate and report on any condition that involves or tends to promote criminal activity…” in the Child Protective Services agency (CPS) of the Rockbridge Area Department of Social Services (RADSS).
On May 2, 2017, the Court ordered that the Report of the Special Grand Jury be released to the general public.
Included in the findings of the SGJ was a determination of “dysfunction in the CPS agency from top to bottom including the RADSS Board of Directors, both operationally and administratively.” Specifically, the SGJ noted the following:
1. Sworn testimony indicated a “hands-off approach to CPS, even when board members were contacted by CPS case workers who had concerns.”
2. Sworn testimony from “several witnesses” indicated former RADSS CPS Supervisor Brenda Perry, who illegally altered and/or destroyed official documents alleging and/or documenting child abuse and/or neglect, created “an atmosphere of harassment, intimidation, and bullying”, and the RADSS Board of Directors was aware of Ms. Perry’s“belligerent behavior” and “chose to do nothing.”
3. The SGJ determined the RADSS Board of Directors, who were aware of Ms. Perry’s “belligerent behavior” failed to request or review Ms. Perry’s written Performance Evaluation or even confirm that such an Evaluation existed.
On May 17, 2017, members of the RADSS Board of Directors explicitly and publicly contradicted the findings of the SGJ during an open Board meeting, stating they were never notified by any CPS staff of any of the above findings as or after they occurred; alleging they were “spectacularly under-informed” by former RADSS Director Meredith Downey, and admitting that “we are part of the problem, and we are victims of that problem.” In addition, while the RADSS Board of Directors advised they were not subpoenaed by the SGJ to provide testimony, they also failed to take initiative to offer testimony. Therefore—
The undersigned residents request that their local governing bodies, having Just Cause to do so, remove the currently-appointed RADSS Board of Directors representatives immediately, and appoint new representatives as soon as possible, pending proper vetting.
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