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Part I

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Borough: Manhattan
Type of Report: Initial
Source of Report: Mother
Date of Intake: 9/29/2007
Date of Initial Home Visit with Subject: 9/29/2007
Date Source Contacted: 9/29/2007

Current Allegation: Inadequate Guardianship

Adults: Mary S., maternal grandmother and legal guardian
Susan, biological mother
Children: Jason, 15 y/o

Case Details

Allegation: The boy’s mother, Susan, alleged that Mary S., the boy’s maternal grandmother and legal guardian, is physically abusive and intimidating to 15yr old Jason. Yesterday 9-28-07, she reportedly punched the adolescent in the face after she told him to clean his bedroom. This is not the first time Mary has used physical force to intimidate Jason. He is afraid of his grandmother, as she has threatened to shoot him if he ever hits her back. Also, the grandmother goes out of town for days at a time and does not leave Jason any money for food. The last time she left was on Saturday and she did not return until Monday. Mary does not make an alternate plan for Jason’s care when she travels out of state.”

Jason’s mother, Susan, says she and her husband gave custody of him to her mother when she was 17 because they did not have any health insurance. Susan says she went to court and filed a petition to revoke her mother’s guardianship and the next court date is October 26, 2007. However, she has to serve her mother the paperwork first. Susan says her mother is a retired New York State corrections officer, and she may still have her weapon.”

Family Background

This African American family consists of the 53 year-old maternal grandmother, Mary; her 32year old daughter, Susan; Susan’s 15year old son, Jason; her 9 and 5 year old sons; her 43 year old companion, Stanley; and Stanley’s 2 daughters, aged 13 and 18. Mary is a retired corrections officer. She receives $6400.00/month in pension benefits and an undisclosed amount from disability. Mary has diabetes and high blood pressure and takes medication for the condition. Mary was granted legal guardianship of Jason in December 1992, when Susan was 17-years old. It was documented that Susan and Jason’s father signed over guardianship to Mary, so that Jason could be covered by her medical insurance. Since that time, Jason has alternated between living with Susan and with Mary. Susan moved to Chicago while Mary continues to reside in NY. Jason’s father is deceased; the cause of death was not mentioned.

In the summer of 2006, Jason asked to live with Mary and has resided with her ever since. Susan filed a petition in June 2007 for modification of guardianship that was awarded to Mary in 1992, but the case was dismissed because she failed to appear in court. In September 2007, she filed another petition regarding the matter of guardianship; the judge requested that ACS submit a COI (Court Ordered Investigation) by October 21, 2007.

A courtesy visit to Susan’s home was conducted by Illinois Child Protective Services due to the COI request. Susan resides in Chicago suburb with Stanley, her two other sons and Stanley’s two children. They live in a two-story home with three bedrooms. The home was equipped with carbon monoxide/smoke detectors however there were no window guards. Susan works at a grocery store and earns $650.00/bi-weekly. Stanley works at a hardware store and earns $800.00/bi-weekly. Stanley has a criminal background. During 1984-1989, he was arrested for attempted robbery, resisting arrest and possession of stolen property. He was imprisoned in 1989 and paroled in 1992.

Mary and Jason reside in 3-story private home in Upper Manhattan. The living room and kitchen are on the first floor. The worker observed food in the refrigerator. The family room Jason’s bedroom, bathroom and laundry room are located on the second floor. Jason’s room is equipped with a full size bed, dresser, desk and closet. Mary lives on the third floor, which has an office, bathroom and bedroom. The home, which is well kept and neat, is equipped with a smoke/carbon monoxide detector.

Jason is dark-skinned, slightly overweight, average height, and has a short haircut. He began a new Catholic high school this month. Mary pays the tuition for his school. He was reportedly left back in the 6th grade while residing with his mother due to excessive absences. Jason is active in sports and plays baseball. This past summer he participated in baseball camp, karate class and weight training. In addition, he attended tutoring for math and English, once a week. The CPS worker observed that he was free from marks and bruises. Reportedly, he has had no developmental delays or disabilities, and no mental health needs.

Current Investigation

The S. Family first became known to ACS on 9/29/07, at 6:06 p.m. when the mother of the alleged maltreated child filed a complaint with the State Central Registry. At 6:08 an Emergency Children’s Services worker was assigned the case for intake. When the case was received, the CPS conducted family clearances in WMS, CCRS, ACRS+, LTS, and the SCR. It was noted that the alleged subject, Mary S. is listed in Connections as a foster parent.

CPS called the source of the report in Illinois to confirm the allegations. The source, the alleged maltreated child’s mother, confirmed what was reported, and also informed the CPS that she filed a petition with Family Court to terminate the guardianship rights of Mary S. She told the CPS worker that she had her other two children in her care, she had not relinquished her parental rights of Jason, and she is seeking to have him live with her again. She also disclosed that Jason often called her crying and told her that he fears his grandmother. Jason told her that Mary S. punched him in the face for not cleaning his room fast enough when he was asked to. She said this incident was not the first time Mary S. has used excessive corporal punishment while disciplining Jason. The source also disclosed that Mary S. has left Jason home alone for days at a time, the last incident having taken place the week before when she traveled to Boston without him. Mary S. reportedly left Jason without adult supervision and money for food. The source expressed her concern for Jason’s safety and well being, because Mary S. is a retired corrections officer that might still have a gun in the home.

Later that evening on 9/29 at 11:21 p.m., another worker attempted an unannounced home visit to the case address, but was unsuccessful. The CPS worker attempted to make contact with anyone who might have been at the case address by repeatedly using the intercom that was located at the top of the stairs, as well as calling the home telephone number listed on the intake report.

The case was reassigned to the Manhattan field office the morning of 9/30 and assigned to a CPS worker who attempted an initial home visit at 5:00 P.M. There was no one home then, but the worker made face-to-face contact with the family at 7:30 AM the next morning, 10/1.


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