According to Sunday’s Atlanta Journal Constitution, Jesssica Scovil was removed from the care of her parents Evelyn Carter and Robert Scovil on an anonymous tip filed with Jackson County DYFS:
Like many new parents, they (Carter and Scovil) struggled to cope with their new family responsibilities. They lived in a government-subsidized home in Jackson County, about 60 miles northeast of Atlanta.
Then one day in March, the state child welfare agency appeared at their door, responding to an anonymous complaint that Jessica was not receiving proper parenting and supervision. The person said Evelyn Carter had not bonded with her child and that baby Jessica had not been kept clean, according to agency records…
DYFS also claimed it received a report that Robert Scovil had driven drunk with Jessica in the car, a claim he denies.
A month later (April 2008) DYFS removed Jessica from her parents for everybody’s own good and placed her with the more responsible Wendy Osborne, 29, a veteran foster care provider and an adoptive mother with a record as spotless as eternal sunshine. On September 2 Osborne left Jessica in an over-heated Dodge Caravan to die while she slept off a medically induced stupor in the comfort of her bedroom and her 3-year old adopted daughters entertained themselves unsupervised. Busy getting their ducks lined up, nobody bothered to tell Carter and Scovil until the next day that their daughter was dead by welfare.
Evelyn Carter, 19, admits she has problems: a learning disability, depression, bi-polar disorder and bouts of schizophrenia when she stops taking medication. Robert Scovil, 32, a fork truck driver, has 2 old DUIs–the latest 10 years ago. Both deny Jessica was neglected or abused. Both say she should never have been taken from them.
“They said I had the mind of a 6 year old and that I would never grow out of it,” Evelyn says DYFS told her. She followed DYFS orders and completed parenting classes to show the state she was responsible and capable. Robert went through alcohol counseling. Both underwent psychological evaluations and other invasive government activities to prove their parental worth.
From records obtained by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the reunification plan was going well. The couple had weekly 1-hour supervised visits with their daughter. We can imagine the pristine social worker, yellow pad on knee, meticulously recording her play date observations. A July 14 report says, “Parents very loving and positive…Baby babbled to father especially.”
Nothing in the AJC article indicates what road blocks the couple’s lawyer says DYFS tossed out to slow down reunification. “They are responsible for this,” says Robert Scovil. “If the state had done it’s job, she’d be alive,” says Carter.
Perhaps this information will come out if and when Wendy Osborne is charged with….something. Or if DYFS is held responsible. But the chances of that happening are slim. So far, nobody but Carter and Scovil are talking, that is, except Osborne’s friends who came over to Bastardette to set us “idiots” straight. Wendy Osborne, according to them, is a beneficent Christian who gives Bibles to all the county’s foster children. (Is that legal?) Her husband Chris is listed in a February 6, 2008 legal ad as an incorporator and statutory agent for the newly formed Jackson County Foster and Adoptive Families Association. The organization is not in the SOS database.
If criminal charges aren’t brought (and even if they are), Carter and Scovil can sue for civil damages. I hope they do.
Carter and Scovil are working poor. Under-educated. Age-inappropriate. Unmarried. They had problems. Carter needed medicine. And somebody didn’t like that. Who and why a tipster contacted DYFS hasn’t been divulged and probably won’t be. Child welfare is always about secrets, and “privacy,” and anonymity. There’s a real good chance that Carter and Scovil don’t know what really happened to them this year, and they’ll never know. It’s none of their business.
Right now all they know is that Jessica was left alone in a van “crying until she couldn’t breathe anymore.”
Don’t lecture them about “bonding.”