Seeking Justice for Caseworker who warned NJ DYFS before Tragic Death of 9-Year-Old Boy
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Jamarr’s Promise is the shocking true story of Kristin I. Morris’ fight to protect a nine-year-old child, Jamarr Cruz, that ended in his tragic death and New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS)'s denial of its responsibility in the case.
As a caseworker for New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), Kristin helped many children and families; it was her life’s passion. Nine-year-old Jamarr was living with his grandparents after his mother’s boyfriend, Vincent Williams, beat him. During the last required monthly visit before Jamarr was scheduled to return to his mother and Vincent’s care, Jamarr told Kristin it was not safe for him to return home. Kristin urgently tried to keep Jamarr safe with his grandparents, but was told by superiors that Latino children are kept in the home at all costs. This time, the cost was Jamarr Cruz’s life.
In 2009 after his return to Omayra Cruz and Vincent Williams, Vincent beat Jamarr to death. Not only did Kristin’s superiors at the DYFS block her efforts to help Jamarr, but when he was killed, they blamed Kristin for his death. Kristin was terminated at work and sued by Jamarr’s mother Omayra Cruz—even after Omayra won a settlement for $425,000 from the State of New Jersey. Kristin’s witnesses who provided proof of Kristin’s innocence were pressured to alter their testimony by Kristin’s superiors. After Kristin won a court arbitration, was completely exonerated, and was ordered to be permitted back at work, DYFS still would not let Kristin return to work. Meanwhile, those above Kristin who sealed Jamarr’s cruel fate have been promoted to higher offices.
The State of New Jersey has crippled Kristin financially, has stripped her of a career helping vulnerable children, and has blatantly ignored facts and sworn testimonies that an investigation of the herein named DYFS and State corroborators is necessary. Jamarr’s Promise is a call to end corrupt loyalties in New Jersey’s DYFS. It is a call to protect children from Jamarr’s fate. It is a call for justice for Kristin Morris, who did the right thing and was punished unjustly for it.
Sign our petition here at Change.org and call for a full investigation of those responsible for the mismanagement of the Jamarr Cruz case, from Joyce A. Thomas, NY/NJ Regional Administrator of the Administration for Children & Families.
Photo Credit: Morris, Kristin I., and Joe Zielinski. Jamaar's Promise: A True Story of Corruption, Courage, and Child Welfare. Wisdom House Books, 2017.
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