Baby Braxton’s grandparents write angry letter to city council

Posted at 9:40 PM, Jul 24, 2012

Baby Braxton's grandparents asked us today to take action for them.

They asked NewsChannel 3's Mike Mather to deliver a letter outlining their anger in this case to city council members.

At the same time, Virginia Beach leaders started working under a tight deadline to fix the city's child-welfare division.

Today Beach leaders, including City Manager Jim Sport, started working on a plan to fix 17 major problems in the city's child-welfare division.

The state has given city leaders until the end of August to get it done.

Spore said that at least for now, Human Services Director Bob Morin will lead that effort.

There's a lot to be done. The state report said the Beach child-welfare division “does not look hard enough for relatives who might be able to care for children.”

Because of that, the Beach is increasing the number of kids in foster care while neighboring agencies are decreasing the number.

And the Beach puts kids in group homes when they are supposed to be, by law, with private families.

In fact, most of the Beach's child-welfare staff said it was wrong to put troubled kids with families, instead saying these kids should be in government facilities.

The researchers wrote, “This is a workplace culture change needing to be addressed and changed immediately.”

The reports show child-welfare workers often do not follow best practices, accepted standards, or even training offered by the state.

When Braxton's grandmother heard NewsChannel 3’s Mike Mather had met with the city manager and was speaking with city council members, she sent in a letter and asked that he pass it to them.

In part she wrote:

"It is time to act. The people involved need to be held accountable and terminated (not reassigned)...What will it take for you to realize these people under your watch are liabilities? Will it take another innocent`s death? This agency is 'in crisis' and our families have experienced the harshness of this crisis for 2 ½ years."

NewsChannel 3’s Mike Mather sent her letter to the city council and city manager today.

Read the full letter here