Few answers on child abuse report
By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY — It isn’t as easy as knocking on a door to determine if a child is being neglected, abused or mistreated.
Members of the Rowan County Child Abuse Prevention Task Force talked Monday at their annual meeting about who is responsible for ensuring children are safe and being educated.
The question about child welfare came from Elizabeth Smith, a community advocate who sits on the board. She referred to a case involving a Rockwell couple — David and Angela Lore — who are charged with misdemeanor child abuse.
Last week, detectives went to the couple’s home, where they say the family, including four children, lived in filthy conditions. The children had apparently received little to no education.
Tom Brewer, program administrator for the children services division of Rowan County Social Services, said after the meeting that social services workers cannot simply knock on a door to check on a child.
“A complaint has to be made,” he said.
Wendy Baskins, a supervisor with the children services division said during the meeting DSS would be notified to look into a matter.
Carol Ann Houpe, who coordinates the LINKS program (Learning, Intervention, Nurturing, Knowledge and Student Achievement) for the school system, tried to address Smith’s concern.
Though she does not handle that part of the school system, Houpe said that what she knew of homeschooling was that the school system had to receive notification from the N.C. Division of Non-Public Instruction before a student can be released from the school system.
For instance, she said if she were to move her children from the Rowan school system to the Concord school system, the children could not be released to go to a new system until they were released from their old one.
Smith asked if the Lore children had been released from the school system.
“There was a child enrolled at one time and they withdrew properly,” Houpe said.
Authorities said the Lore children weren’t being educated, though their parents had registered as a home school with the state.
“There are cracks in the system. We have to be vigilant to make sure no one falls through them,” said Chad Mitchell, chairman of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.
The Child Prevention Task Force also:
• Discussed the protocol for dealing with children who are exposed to drugs.
In the past when a newborn tested positive for illegal substances such as methadone, DSS substantiated a case for neglect.
They encountered mothers who were prescribed methadone and later found out they were pregnant.
The mothers could not quit taking the drug. Now DSS says it will accept this information for investigation and evaluate on a case-by-case basis.
• Discussed activities for Child Abuse Prevention Month.
There will be an event to kick off the month in the parking lot of Rowan Social Services, 1813 E. Innes St., at 10 a.m. on Friday.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.