Dauphin County Children and Youth was ‘in disarray,’ missed referrals to help … – FOX43.com

The Dauphin County district attorney unsealed the grand jury investigation into the Jarrod Tutko Jr. case on Thursday.

It shows the 9-year-old boy suffered neglect at the hands of his parents, who are charged with criminal homicide. It also shows a history of neglect by Dauphin County Children and Youth Services, which ignored at least five referrals to help the Tutko children.

The grand jury report is more than 100 pages long and details several cases over the past two years where caseworkers and supervisors at CYS failed to check on referrals to help or to remove children from dangerous situations.

“Case after case after case of situations where caseworkers are in homes, and they don’t know what they’re looking at,” says Sean McCormack, chief deputy district attorney.

It paints a picture of overworked and under-trained caseworkers who “didn’t know what they were doing,” administrators who “didn’t know what their duties were,” and workers who sat crying, paralyzed and overwhelmed, at their desks.

“There were numerous reports of individuals trying to do their job but were so upset they were crying on the job,” says district attorney Ed Marsico.

The district attorney says the system’s failure is clear in the Jarrod Tutko Jr. case. He was found dead, weighing 16 pounds, after suffering in a locked, feces-covered room.

The report shows CYS ignored five referrals to help the Tutko children. One referral came from elementary school staff. Two of Jarrod Jr.’s siblings told school staff they were afraid of their father; his sister said their mother had touched her inappropriately. CYS records show this investigation was closed but there are no documents or indications of a home visit.

“The initial caseworker was concerned that the Tutkos were uncooperative, they were not enrolling the kids in school” says Marsico. “When the case went to a different caseworker, that caseworker didn’t share the same concerns, had a different impression of the case. And sometime in late 2013, there was basically an end to the contact with Children and Youth.”

When a caseworker had visited the home, they didn’t go upstairs, where they would’ve found Jarrod’s filthy room.

In one of the most glaring oversights, Jarrod’s 10-year-old sister Arianna was in Hershey Medical Center in January 2014. Medical officals raised concerns because she was dirty and her parents did not come to the hospital, and she needed special care for a medical condition.

They contacted CYS. But caseworkers made no follow up.

Police found Arianna near death on August 1, when they arrived and Jarrod Jr. was dead. She was so filthy, doctors say her body had scales; she had six baths but still had an odor from the house.

“She had wax from ears that came out on to her face, her eyes were matted shut from secretions, she’d lost 15 pounds in the course of a year since the last time she was in Hershey Medical Center,” says Marsico.

Because of Arianna’s condition, the grand jury recommended additional charges of assault and endangering the welfare of a child against the Tutko parents.

The interim director at CYS says there is new training in place for caseworkers and more oversight from supervisors. Caseworkers must learn to perform child welfare safety inspections.

“No doubt that serious mistakes and errors in judgment were made in the past. This is something everyone at the Dauphin County Children and Youth department deeply regrets,” says Joe Dougher, interim director.

But the grand jury called for more state and county reform, including a state database for CYS. The Tutko parents had been flagged in New Jersey and in Schuykill County.