Local News

Wayne Authorities Look At Allegations Of Abuse At Foster Home

Posted September 5, 2003

— The Department of Social Services is under fire in Wayne County. Sheriff's detectives are investigating allegations of child abuse in a foster home.

Eight months ago, Wayne County Social Services took custody of Oteria Williams' 6-year-old daughter, Akeela, and 2-year-old, Iyanna. At the time, the 19-year-old had no job, no electricity and no stable home. The girls went to a foster home. During visitation, Williams started noticing bruises on Iyanna's face and legs.

"To me, it looked like someone was literally abusing the children," she said. "It got worse every visit. It just got worse."

Williams said the social worker did not seem to care about her concerns. Williams' anger then boiled over when she saw her 2-year-old daughter in late August.

"When I took her shoes off, her socks were bloody. I pulled her socks off and I noticed burns everywhere," she said.

The child was immediately taken to the doctor for treatment. Williams said Social Services removed both girls from the foster home and called sheriff's detectives.

"I'm just angry. I'm very angry, and I want justice. I'm going to get justice," said Orenthia Manley, Oteria's mother.

A Department of Social Services administrator told WRAL an outside agency investigates all allegations of abuse. When substantiated, DSS removes children from the foster home and calls law enforcement. Williams believes the system failed her daughter.

"This could have been avoided if they had taken the time out to investigate my complaints and my concerns," she said.

Because of confidentiality reasons, officials from the Wayne County Department of Social Services will not comment on this case. So far, there has been no explanation for the burns. The foster parent has not yet been charged. Sheriff's deputies hope to wrap up their investigation in the coming days.

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