Deficiencies cited in CPS investigation involving murdered 4-year-old Kylee Forrest
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has released their review of the agency's involvement with four-year-old Kylee Forrest. Forrest died on February 1, 2015. Her father, Justin Chisum, is charged with her murder. Chisum, 30, is held at the Lubbock Co. Detention Center on a $1 Million bond.
Authorities say Chisum admitted to killing his daughter. They discovered her body at Chisum's apartment near 4th and Slide and located Chisum nearby running around naked.
According to his arrest warrant, Chisum picked up Kylee on a Saturday afternoon to take her to church. Around 7:30 p.m. Sunday, police responded to a call from one of Chisum's neighbors.
After spotting what appeared to be blood on Chisum's window, officers forced their way inside and found Kylee's body. They say, due to the way the apartment looked, it appeared to be a very violent incident.
According to the DFPS report, Child Protective Services (CPS) had an open investigation involving Forrest at the time of her death. The report states that it was the third investigation into allegations of abuse and neglect.
CPS received the first report regarding Forrest in November 2010. It involved allegations of neglectful supervision by Chisum.
There was concern that Chisum locked Forrest in a car while inside of a store. According to the DFPS report, the allegation was determined to be ruled out, as it was cited to be an isolated incident with no indication that Chisum placed Forrest in a situation that could have resulted in harm. The investigation was closed in January of 2011.
An assessment completed by the Office of Child Safety (OCS) revealed a criminal history check was not completed on Chisum. The report states a check would have provided staff with additional information about potential safety concerns.
In September of 2014, CPS received a second report of neglectful supervision. Allegations stated Forrest's behaviors were abnormal when she was being helped to use the restroom. Forrest also appeared to have a rash centrally located to her vaginal area, unlike a typical diaper rash.
According to the DFPS report, the allegation was determined to be ruled out. Her great aunt took Forrest for a medical appointment due to the allegations and provided results to CPS staff, indicating that Forrest had a slightly elevated white cell count and prescribed antibiotics.
Forrest was residing with her great aunt, as her mother was incarcerated and her father stated to staff he was incapable of caring for Forrest at the time. During the investigation Forrest's great aunt stated that her father sees Forrest.
An OCS assessment revealed no face-to-face interviews between staff and Forrest's great aunt or father. It also found a criminal history check was performed on Chisum, however staff did not discuss concerns from the results with him or assess how it may impact Forrest's safety if left unsupervised with her father.
In January of 2015, concerns of sexual abuse were reported due to observed redness in Forrest's vaginal area. According to the DFPS report, "Forrest's great aunt was appropriately concerned and agreed to have Forrest taken to a sexual abuse exam by a medical team. During the medical exam, there were no indications of sexual abuse."
During the investigation, Forrest's great aunt informed staff that "Chisum spends time with Forrest almost every day after she returns from school." The great aunt stated that she has no concerns with Chisum's contact and did not feel he would do anything to her.
The great aunt reported that Chisum is schizophrenic, but as long as he takes his medication he is fine. As far as she knew, Chisum was taking his medication and stated that she can tell when he is not taking them because he says odd things and is not himself.
According to the DFPS report, the case was approved to be closed with a determined disposition of ruled out after staff completed outstanding investigative tasks. Prior to case closure, on February 1, 2015, Forrest died due to physical abuse.
An OCS assessment revealed that there was an initial attempt to contact Forrest's father at the start of the investigation on January 9, 2015 via telephone, however no other attempts were made.
The Overall Case Review found that although it was known that Forrest's father had contact with her throughout the investigations, CPS never made face-to-face contact with him to assess his ability to protect Forrest and ensure her safety. Once CPS learned that Kylee's father had a mental health diagnosis, staff did not adequately follow up with her father in regards to his diagnosis and any medical interventions needed to address his mental health needs and address Forrest's safety.
The Office of Child Safety has recommended staff be reminded that parents of children involved with CPS should be contacted within 24 hours of their child being observed or interviewed. Parents should also be interviewed face-to-face. The OCS also recommended staff be reminded that as part of the investigation, they are to assess risk factors, to include mental health of the parents and caregivers.
- CPS is currently implementing a new practice model and developing practice guidelines to provide ongoing training for all staff. Training surrounding notification and involvement of parents, caregivers, and support networks are included in the practice guidelines.
- Additionally, CPS is implementing new safety assessment and an actuarial-based risk assessment. Both assessments require a caseworker to assess the entire household and all primary and secondary caregivers in making safety and risk determinations. During the design and delivery of these trainings, it is important to include the recommended training themes.
- Additionally, Child Protective Services has recently hired a subject matter specialist for mental health services. This position is designed to help field staff utilize resources to meet the needs of parents, youth, and children who need support to address their mental health needs.
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