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Quality Assurance Review Child Victim: Je'hyrah Daniels Date of Death: August 2, 2018 County: Hillsborough FSFN Report: 2018-631295 DCF Region: Suncoast MYELFAMILIES.COM Judicial Circui Date of QA Review: August 29, 2018 |. Introduction On August 2, 2018, the Florida Department of Children and Families received a report concerning the drowning death of 4-year-old Je'hyrah Daniels. The incident occurred when Je'hyrah's mother, 26-yeai ‘old Shakayla Denson, carried the child into the Hillsborough River and then left her daughter to drown in the water as she walked back to shore. Witnesses who were too far away to intervene watched as the events unfolded, prompting multiple calls to 9-1-1. Although law enforcement officials were on scene within minutes of the calls, Je'hyrah was already submerged in the water. Approximately 30 minutes later, Je'hyrah’s body was recovered by divers and transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced deceased upon her arrival. Il. Case Participants Participant Name. Relationship/Role ‘Je‘hyrah Daniels Decedent ‘Shakayla Denson ‘Mother Jedaric Daniels Father [Not in the Home] Ill. Child Welfare Summary The family's first and only involvement with the child welfare system occurred in June 2018, when a report ‘was received in Hillsborough County concerning Ms. Denson's ability to properly supervise Je'hyrah. The allegation referenced an incident that occurred a month prior to the call, when Je’hyrah reportedly got out of the great-grandmother’s home and walked to a park approximately six minutes away. Neither law enforcement officials nor the department were notified at the time the incident occurred, and Je'hyrah was later found unharmed by her mother and great-grandmother. The report also alleged that Ms. Daniels seemed to be overwhelmed and tired of caring for Je'hyrah (who was described as [INI non-verbal child), and claimed that she was either always sleeping or letting the child run around and do what she wanted Ms. Denson was shocked to learn of the report and denied the allegations as they were noted. According to Ms. Denson, the incident in which Je'hyrah wandered away from the home occurred wiile the child was. at the great-grandmother's home where other family members were supposed to be watching her. Ms. Denson further noted that Je'hyrah had never wandered away from their personal residence where there an alarm system to help ensure that Je’hyrah never gets out of the home undetected. Although Ms. Denson acknowledged the difficulty and frustration of being a parent of a special needs child, she denied feeling overwhelmed or unable to meet her child's needs. Ms. Denson spoke positively regarding Je'hyrah (e.g., she loves being a parent and feels she has a close bond with her daughter) and appeared to not only understand Je'hyrah’s needs but also had realistic expectations with regards to her behaviors. Ms. Denson ‘even expressed caution about who she would allow to watch Je'hyrah because they may not be able to understand or handle her behavior {NNNNMI. At the time of the investigation, Ms. Denson was working three to four days a week during which time the maternal aunt would assist with childcare. Page 1 of 3 Collateral contacts were made with neighbors and extended family members, all of whom reported no concems for Ms. Denson’s ability to properly care for Je’hyrah. During the investigation, the child protective investigator (CPI) provided the family information for the Net program. The family began receiving services| and the investigation was subsequently closed with no indicators of child maltreatment on July 30, 2018. ‘The unfortunate events leading to Je'hyrah’s death would occur three days later. IV. System of Care Review This section is designed to provide an assessment of the child welfare system's interactions with the family rior to the child's death and to identify issues that may have influenced the system's response and the ‘quality of decision-making A. Practice Assessment Based on the information obtained during the investigation, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Child Protective Investigations Division (HCSO CPID) appropriately determined that Je’hyrah was safe in Ms. Denson's care. There were no identified danger threats and Ms. Denson was noted to have sufficient protective capacities during the investigation. > Ms. Denson denied Je'hyrah ever got out of her home undetected and noted that her home has an alarm system to prevent such an occurrence. She further noted that the incident from the previous month happened while the child was at another residence where relatives were supposed to be watching her. While Ms. Denson was honest about the difficulty/frustration of having a special needs child, she spoke in positive terms with regards to her relationship with her daughter and with being a parent in general. Ms. Denson expressed an understanding of her daughter's behavioral characteristics and was proactive in obtaining specialized services for her child to better meet her individualized needs. Though the allegation narrative noted that Ms. Denson was diagnosed with J Ms. Denson denied having any mental illness when asked by the CPI; and based on the documentation in the case record, she neither demonstrated nor described any symptom or behavior consistent with mental instability B. Organizational Assessment The HCSO CPID staff who were involved in the previous investigation had the appropriate level of education and were well-experienced in the child welfare field > The child protective investigator held a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology and had more than seven years of experience working in the child welfare field. During the months of June and July of 2018, the CPI received between 17 and 18 investigations each month (17 investigations in June and 18 investigations in July). While this is slightly higher than the recommended average of 12 intakes per month, it had no bearing in this specific case. The child protective investigations supervisor held a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and had worked in the child welfare field for a total of 33 years. There are three CPls assigned to the supervisor which, according to HCSO CPID staff, offers a more manageable unit and allows for the provision of enhanced support to investigative staff when needed. The HCSO CPID utilizes school resource officers during school breaks to assist child protection staff with a variety of activities which seems to benefit both child protection and law enforcement staff. > Officers can assist CPls on calls and alleviate the need to pull a patrol deputy from the streets. Page 2063 > Officer assistance can also be utilized for a variety of tasks that include but are not limited to conducting welfare checks, locating hard to find children and/or families, and making collateral contacts with neighbors. This, in turn, allows CPls more time to focus on more critical case activities. C. Service Array There are {EE programs in Hillsborough County from which Ms. Denson proactively sought assistance and support for Je"hyrah. > During the school i > [Bung the investigation, the family was receiving sevice: IE wich, according to the maternal grandmother, was beneficial to both Ms. Denson and _Je’hyrah. (RII precremn oven axcietet tte. Gencon in scotia = xert AMM 2 tat Je'hyrah could be given a bracelet from the Safety Net program. The bracelet was to serve as a tracking system should she wander away; however, her death occurred before it could be activated. Vi. Summary In tragic events such as this, the human condition has a need to seek a reasonable explanation for an individual's behavior to make sense of a senseless act. Based on the information that was available in the previous investigation, a correlation cannot be made between the circumstances of the prior report and the events leading up to Je'hyrah’s death. There were never any reports of physical violence or threats of physical violence concerning Ms. Denson towards her daughter; and there was no information in the case record to suggest that Je’hyrah was either unsafe or at risk of harm while in her mother's care. Page 3 0f 3