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WILKINSBURG (KDKA) – Why didn’t anyone help three children found living in deplorable conditions inside a Wilkinsburg home much sooner?
This is one of many troubling questions after the biological mom of the children left them in the care of someone her family didn’t know now facing a list of charges after police say the children were intentionally starved.
KDKA’s Pam Surano spoke to the Deputy Director of Allegheny County Office Of Children Youth and Families. For seven months the children taken to Children’s Hospital endured what police and a doctor call filth, neglect, abuse and intentional starvation. Their mom reportedly left them in the care of a woman now charged with child endangerment.
While CYF can’t talk about individual cases they say dropping a child off with a virtual stranger is never an option.
“He almost died, my grandson. He could have died if we didn’t find him. He’s flesh and bones literally he can’t even walk.”
Gerald Turner, is the heartbroken grandfather of the children ages 2, 9 and 12 found living inside the Wilkinsburg home of Jennifer Stout.
Police and a doctor at Children’s Hospital say the children were neglected, abused and intentionally starved. The family says the toddler still in Children’s Hospital is suffering from Cerebral atrophy related to the starvation at the Hunter Street home. 35-year-old Stout is charged with child endangerment, reckless endangerment and assault of the children while they were in her care.
The children’s mom left them with Stout and her family can’t understand why when they were willing to help. Allegheny County’s Office Of Children Youth and Families says sometimes parents are afraid to ask for appropriate help, and they shouldn’t be.
Jacki Hoover is the Deputy Director of CYF in Allegheny County.
“We get 15-thousand calls a year of those such a small percentage actually get removed.”
Jacki Hoover says stressed struggling parents should turn to CYF but and take heart in knowing the goal is to keep families together.
“Most of the time we often utilize interventions and services for families in need we have many resources we can provide throughout the county.”
In the case of the children found the family was willing to help but for those who don’t have help Hoover says to reach out to agencies like Jeremiah’s Place.
“In East Liberty, there is a place called Jeremiah’s Place which offers safe childcare to families in need, no questions asked.”
CYF says they can’t do it alone, they need the input from outside agencies like police and supportive nonprofit services.
If You suspect the abuse of a child you can call CYF at 412-473-2000 And you can always remain anonymous through the state’s ChildLine and Abuse Registry at 1-800-932-0313.
Stout has a preliminary hearing on Jan. 3, the children’s biological mom still has not been found.