Day Care Owner Accused in Child’s Hammer Death

How did this happen?

3:20 PM PDT, March 18, 2010,0,942095.story

SOUTH LOS ANGELES — A day care owner under investigation in the death of a 2-year-old girl who authorities say was struck with a hammer was reportedly the subject of five child abuse complaints.

Child welfare officials concluded that 30-year-old Kiana Barker, who is also a foster mother, severely neglected her own child in 2002, according to confidential records reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

Four other child abuse complaints were lodged against Barker in subsequent years, but social workers were unable to substantiate the complaints, the records show.

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Jeff Hiratsuka, head of the state Community Care Licensing Division, which is responsible for licensing foster parents, could not explain why the 2002 substantiated-neglect probe did not disqualify Barker when she applied in 2005 for a child-care license and in 2009 for foster-care certification.

It was unclear whether Barker’s history had not been reported to the state database by county workers, or if it had been reported and overlooked, Hiratsuka said.

Barker and her boyfriend, James Julian, 38, were arrested last week on suspicion of murder in connection with the March 4 death of Viola Vanclief, according to Los Angeles police records.

They were released two days later with no charges filed. They remain under investigation.

Barker told investigators that Vanclief became trapped in a bed frame and she accidentally struck the girl with a hammer while trying to free her from the contraption.

But coroner’s records show the child had several bruises. The death was deemed a homicide.

Barker worked for the nonprofit foster care agency United Care Inc., which contracts with Los Angeles County to provide shelter for abused and neglected children.

She has two biological children, ages 6 months and 9 years old, and two foster children, including Vanclief.

State regulators decertified Barker as a foster parent last week.

United Care Inc. has been repeatedly cited in recent years after caregivers choked, hit and whipped their charges with a belt, the Times reported.

In 2007, a foster child drowned while swimming unsupervised in a pool. The foster mother was distracted during a family reunion, according to records.

The agency is not receiving new placements and all county social workers involved in Vanclief’s case have been placed on desk duty while the investigation continues.
Copyright © 2010, KTLA-TV, Los Angeles

About yvonnemason

Background:  The eldest of five children, Yvonne was born May 17, 1951 in Atlanta, Georgia. Raised in East Point, Georgia, she moved to Jackson County, Ga. until 2006 then moved to Port St. Lucie, Florida where she currently makes her home.  Licensed bounty hunter for the state of Georgia. Education:  After a 34 year absence, returned to college in 2004. Graduated with honors in Criminal Justice with an Associate’s degree from Lanier Technical College in 2006. Awards:  Nominated for the prestigious GOAL award in 2005 which encompasses all of the technical colleges. This award is based not only on excellence in academics but also leadership, positive attitude and the willingness to excel in one’s major. Affiliations:  Beta Sigma Phi Sorority  Member of The Florida Writer’s Association – Group Leader for St Lucie County The Dream:  Since learning to write at the age of five, Yvonne has wanted to be an author. She wrote her first novel Stan’s Story beginning in 1974 and completed it in 2006. Publication seemed impossible as rejections grew to 10 years. Determined, she continued adding to the story until her dream came true in 2006. The Inspiration:  Yvonne’s brother Stan has been her inspiration and hero in every facet of her life. He was stricken with Encephalitis at the tender age of nine months. He has defied every roadblock placed in his way and has been the driving force in every one of her accomplishments. He is the one who taught her never to give up The Author: Yvonne is currently the author of several novels, including:  Stan’s Story- the true story of her brother’s accomplishments, it has been compared to the style of Capote, and is currently being rewritten with new information for re-release.  Tangled Minds - a riveting story about a young girl’s bad decision and how it taints everyone’s life around her yet still manages to show that hope is always possible. This novel has been compared to the writing of Steinbeck and is currently being written as a screenplay. This novel will be re-released by Kerlak Publishing in 2009  Brilliant Insanity – released by Kerlak Publishing October 2008  Silent Scream – Released by October 2008- Slated to be made into a movie Yvonne’s Philosophy in Life - “Pay it Forward”: “In this life we all have been helped by others to attain our dreams and goals. We cannot pay it back but what we can do is ‘pay it forward’. It is a simple
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