Mariah, a 3-year-old girl born in Berkeley, died on October 16, 2015, after ingesting meth two days after she was placed by Child Protective Services in Stockton. (Courtesy of Darren Kessler)

A 3-year-old girl dies in foster care after overdosing on methamphetamine for the second time in 13 days.

How could this happen? How did little Mariah Sultana Mustafa end up with meth in her system? How could she be returned to the same foster home after the first overdose?

The painful story, detailed last weekend by Bay Area News Group reporters Matthias Gafni and David DeBolt, reveals a broken foster care system and officials who display no inclination to fix it.

Mariah lived with her biological mother and grandmother in Oakland before she was removed from her home, along with her older brother, and placed with a Stockton foster mother with a spotty record. (Courtesy of Darren Kessler)

Mariah died in San Joaquin County, where she was sent by Alameda County child protective services workers. To ensure this never happens again, Alameda County supervisors or the county grand jury should launch an independent investigation to determine for the public why so many warning signs were missed.

Instead, county officials have circled the wagon, refusing to release documents about Mariah’s Oct. 16, 2015, death — documents that should be made public under state law designed to cast sunshine on cases of neglect or abuse.

So many questions demand answers: Why was Mariah placed in the care of a foster mother, Maria Moore, who already had allegations of “general neglect” sustained?

Why was Moore allowed to share care-giving duties with boyfriend Ernest Stevens III, who had a history of drug abuse? Why is Moore allowed to continue keeping foster children in her Stockton home, even after Mariah’s death and after admitting she knew of Stevens’ drug history?

What about Triad Family Services, the agency that helped Alameda County authorities place Mariah with Moore? Does it still have a contract with the county — and, if so, why?

How is it that Joanne Willis of Triad visited the foster home three times between Mariah’s two overdoses and was unconcerned? What about Alameda County social workers Diane Davis Maas and Sue May, who allowed Mariah to remain in Moore’s house after the first overdose?

That first overdose occurred at least three days after Mariah was placed in foster care. Yet, nurse Jeremy Massey at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton suggested the meth had been consumed before Mariah arrived at Moore’s house. Why?

Did Stockton police investigate whether that delay was even possible? A toxicology expert tells us it wasn’t, that …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News

      

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Editorial: Investigate 3-year-old foster child’s meth overdose fatality

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