CPS manager defends social workers in boy’s death

Oralandar Brand-Williams, The Detroit News

A Lansing-based manager for Michigan’s Children’s Protective Services maintained Tuesday that two social workers were not negligent in their duties in handling the case of a reportedly mentally ill mother whose son was found dead in her apartment a month after they had made a visit to her residence.

Elaina Brown, 24, and Kelly M. Williams, 47

Elaina Brown and Kelly Williams were performing their duties as social workers in keeping open the case of Deanna Minor, the manager said during a second day of testimony in a preliminary examination to determine whether the women should go to trial in connection with the death of 3-year-old Aaron Minor.

“(Brown and another worker) went out to the home twice,” said Colin Parks, manager of CPS’ Family Preservation Office. “(Brown) is not being idle. She is doing what you expect the worker to do. (Brown and Williams) kept the case open. There were continued efforts.”

Brown, 24, and Williams, 47, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse, both felonies. Involuntary manslaughter is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a conviction on second-degree child abuse could result in a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

The boy’s decomposing body was found in a bed in his mother’s apartment on Trumbull near Forest near Wayne State University on May 25.

At issue is whether Brown and Williams did everything they could, according to CPS policy, to ensure that Minor was capable of parenting her child and that the boy was not being abused or neglected.

Testimony in the preliminary examination will continue at 11 a.m. Jan. 4 before 36th District Judge Kenneth King.

Minor became the subject of a CPS investigation in April, following a complaint on April 20 by her mental health care worker. The worker alleged Minor was suicidal, delusional and volatile.

On Tuesday, Parks testified that Brown did attempt to follow up at the home.

“She made two face-to-face contacts with the child and mother,” Parks said.

“She went into the home. By virtue of the fact that she kept the case open, she continued to be concerned.”

Under questioning by assistant Wayne County prosecutor Carin Goldfarb, Parks was asked, “What if anything did (Brown) do?” about investigating questions about Minor’s state of mental and well being given the concerns by the mental health worker.

Brown went to the woman’s home April 20 and April 21. The boy was found dead May 25.

Minor has been charged with with felony murder, second-degree murder, first- and second-degree child abuse and failure to report a dead body in her son’s case.

Last month, 36th District Judge Shannon Holmes ruled Minor was incompetent to stand trial in her son’s death.


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