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Protection for vulnerable children

Discussion in 'Advocacy' started by Ellen, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

    Oct 22, 2005
    I read the following article with tremendous sadness and despair. We all know it takes a lot of courage, strength of character, and cognitive ability to take proper care of our precious children with type 1 diabetes. But what about those parents who truly are incapable of handling it day to day? Where is their safety net to cry for help? Where can they safely take their baby/child...when they recognize they are in over their heads? I think there needs to be legislation for a safety net...that they should be able to bring their child to a hospital or a fire station and seek social services to take care of their child when they recognize they can't do it. Thoughts?

    Mother to serve 5 years for neglect of child

    Posted 1:12 PM March 27, 2007
    Mother to serve 5 years for neglect of child
    11-month-old girl died in May

    By Katie Merlie
    March 27, 2007

    NOBLESVILLE -- A former Noblesville woman was sentenced to spend five years in jail this morning after pleading guilty to charges stemming from the death of her 11-month-old daughter.

    Hamilton County Superior Court 2 Judge Daniel Pfleging sentenced Amber Shanklin, 27, to eight years in the Indiana Department of Correction, with one year to be served in the Hamilton County Community Corrections' work-release program and two on probation. She also was credited for 304 days after spending 152 days in jail.

    Shanklin, whose most-recent address was in the 90 block of South Brinton Street in Cicero, pleaded guilty on March 7 to neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury, a Class B felony. Another Class A felony of the same charge had been dismissed.

    Sentencing for Shanklin's crime was supposed to be April 3, but her attorney, Andy Barker, said the court date was moved up because Shanklin is due to have her third child in two weeks.

    In court documents, Noblesville Police Detective Mark Cruea stated that Shanklin's friend called for an ambulance on the morning of May 17, saying she discovered a dead baby girl in a home in the 1500 block of South 16th Street. Shanklin lived in the home with her brother, Jeremy Clonch.

    Paramedics found Hallie Shanklin, who was described as lifeless and thin, in her bed. Cruea said the girl was pronounced dead at Riverview Hospital.
    Throughout the investigation, Cruea said, Shanklin and Clonch's friends described frightening scenes at the home on 16th Street.

    The infant reportedly was spanked repeatedly and yelled at for screaming and crying. Court documents say Shanklin and Clonch were overheard talking about how they wish they could smother her or that she would just die so they wouldn't "have to put up with this (crying) anymore."
    Hallie was diagnosed in December 2005 with Type 1 juvenile diabetes, and doctors ordered her mother to keep daily track of the child's glucose levels, give her insulin and closely watch her food intake.

    Friends of the brother and sister told police that on May 16 they saw Shanklin put the crying child to bed. They never saw Hallie alive again.
    Shanklin was arrested Oct. 26 on a warrant and has been in the Hamilton County Jail since.

    Read more on this story Thursday night t www.TheNoblesvilleLedger.com or in Friday's Ledger. Call staff writer Katie Merlie at (317) 444-5549.

    An editorial:


    Posted 5:39 PM March 12, 2007
    Jane Younce column: 11-month-old's death raises questions about motherhood
    Times have changed since the 1950s; single dads can raise children.

    By Jane Younce
    March 13, 2007


    I recently overheard a woman say that because "Indiana is a woman's state," she would get custody of her child even though her ex-husband now has full custody. We can only hope that this statement is completely inaccurate, and that the Indiana judicial system awards custody to the most fit parent, regardless of whether the person is a woman or man.
    One would hope that children of divorced parents aren't placed with the mother solely because she is a woman.

    I wonder, though, who dropped the ball when it came to Amber Shanklin's infant daughter, who died of dehydration, starvation and deprivation of medicine for diabetes.
    A father wasn't mentioned in the Shanklin case, but Amber Shanklin is one example of why some mothers do not deserve custody of their child. Having a baby does not automatically make you a fit parent. And while we like to think that "mother's instinct" kicks in the minute a child is born, we are fooling ourselves if we believe in such fairy tales.
    Shanklin certainly wasn't a young teenager overwhelmed by a newborn. She was a 27-year-old adult woman, yet she apparently had no desire to give the unconditional love that is required to care for a baby.
    Being a mother requires a love so fierce you are willing to lay down your life for your child, not slowly and purposely kill it because you're tired of the child crying.
    If Shanklin is able to strike a plea agreement and receive 6-20 years, does that mean she'll be out in 10 years or less for good behavior? Twenty years does not seem a long enough sentence for someone who contributed to their own child's death.
    If I had the power, I'd lock up Shanklin for a very long time and would not allow her out of jail until the state required her to undergo sterilization so that no other child could die in her care. Too bad it doesn't work that way in the real world.
    I certainly hope the state does not believe that if you are a mother you are automatically fit to have custody of our child. Times have changed, folks, and many men today are not the absent fathers of the 1950s. Who says that a father can't be just as good of a single parent as the mother? When did gender start affecting the health and physical welfare of a child?
    I can't help recall a case nearly 30 years ago in Bloomington, Ind., where a judge awarded sole custody of twin boys and their brother to the father instead of the mother. In those days it was thought a father simply couldn't handle taking care of children by himself.
    I'm happy to say the judge made a good decision and the boys turned out great with all of them going to college. I know about this case because it was my cousin Dick Seifers who stepped up to the plate and raised his sons by himself until he remarried several years later.
    It's tragic, but maternal instinct is not always present and 11-month-old Hallie Shanklin is now dead because of an uncaring and irresponsible mother. Like it or not, some people should never be allowed to be parents.
    Jane Younce is a community columnist for The Noblesville Ledger. The Cicero woman's column appears in each Tuesday's edition. She can be reached at Jane.Younce@TheNoblesvilleLedger.com
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2007
  2. Tamara Gamble

    Tamara Gamble Approved members

    Jul 28, 2006
    Ellen, I agree that something needs to be done. Can't a parent do that anyway? Call social services and say, hey, I just can't do this, I am not well equiped.

    I was horrified when I read this. It made me want to cry. I can't even imagine. I think that you are a much better person than I am to be able to look at the parents side in a non punishable way. I know that ultimately it means survival of the child which would be my focus in this matter. Acknowledging one's limitations is priceless and deserves to be respected in some way. As we can see the alternative is not an option.

    I have to say that some doctors need to be accountable also. I am shocked when parents are sent home with zero training or we will get to the ketones and sliding scale next time. I can't understand any of it. What about the doctor who see's a child not developing and know's that the treatment is sub par and does nothing. I really do think that somewhere we have done our children and parents of type 1 children an injustice in so many ways. Schools, doctors, lack of support within our own communities. That's why I volunteer for the ADA. I could not live with myself if I could do something that someone else couldn't and I chose not to help. Most of the calls that I get have nothing to do with school. They have to do with connecting with others whether it be for a child or parent.

    I often worry that I will lose the right to take care of my own child with this disease when I read things like this. It makes me feel like we may all suffer the consequences one day. I hope this never happens. I would not have our lives any other way as imperfect as they may be they are still ours.

    My prayers go out to the children everywhere.

  3. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

    Oct 22, 2005
    Thankfully this baby survived...something needs to be done for these vulnerable babies so they can be dropped off without question


    Eansville Courier Press
    Woman accused of child neglect

    Infant admitted to hospital

    By Gavin Lesnick
    Saturday, July 7, 2007
    An Evansville woman is accused of child neglect after police found her infant daughter living amid squalid and dangerous conditions, according to a probable cause affidavit.
    Lisa Patterson, 29, is being held at the Vanderburgh County Jail without bond and a 17-year-old juvenile, who told police he was the child's father, was taken to a juvenile facility also on a preliminary charge of child neglect.

    Child Protection Services took custody of the baby, who was admitted to a local hospital for undisclosed medical issues.
    The child, who is 10 months old, is diabetic and had been discharged from Riley Hospital for Children days earlier, according to the affidavit.
    Officers began investigating the residence, 108 W. Iowa St., Apt. B, after noticing its door kicked in Friday morning.
    Inside, the apartment reportedly smelled strongly of decaying food and when officers went to the kitchen to seek formula for the infant, they reportedly discovered foul conditions.
    According to the affidavit, there was animal feces on the floor and a cooler with food so old it was unrecognizable.
    A bathroom in the apartment reportedly smelled of old urine and officers found clothes and cigarette butts throughout the house, the affidavit said.
    They also noted several instances of potentially dangerous conditions in the residence, including the lack of a baby gate at the stairs and a couch beside the crib that was pushed against an open, screenless window, the affidavit said.
    The couple had no food for the child, the affidavit said, and they had to go to the neighboring residence to get a bottle of formula.
    Patterson told police that the child had last eaten about 12 hours prior to police arriving.
    Child Protective Services requested a drug test for Patterson, which returned positive for opiates and THC, the affidavit said.
    Patterson is scheduled to make her initial court appearance at 8:30 a.m. today.

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