What could have been done to save 3-year-old Olivia Ann Jansen? The Kansas Department of Children and Families released a summary on Friday of the agency’s interaction with her and her family. It turned out they had interacted, dating back to an abuse claim in the winter.
There were two reports by an unnamed person on February 28, claiming that Olivia was the victim of physical abuse, according to the summary obtained by Fox 4 KC. One document stated the alleged perpetrator was her father Howard Jansen III. He had allegedly hit her in the leg. In this account, he bruised it, and there was concern he might have broken it. In the other report, the father’s girlfriend Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick had hit Olivia.
But an agent did not find signs of abuse on the young girl, according to the summary. The woman who made the claim recanted the allegation. Over four months later, Jansen would be found dead in her city of Kansas City, Kansas on July 10, the same day her father reported her missing. Authorities blame both Jansen III and Kirkpatrick for her death. This was a murder, prosecutors said.
DCF was in contact with the family again on June 22. This time, the allegation was that a caregiver was abusing drugs. An agent spoke to Olivia on June 30 in a video conference call because the family was reported to be out of state. The girl was reportedly looking forward to the Fourth of July.
Jansen III took a drug test, and tested positive for THC on July 7, three days before everything fell apart.
All told, the June 22 allegation wasn’t as urgent as the February 28 claims.
“It’s really a process of up to 30 days of really gathering information,” said Laura Howard, secretary of the Kansas Department of Children and Families. “‘What can we learn about the family? What can we learn about strengths, about weaknesses, about what might help provide safety for a child.'”
The THC test wouldn’t necessarily lead to a child being taken from the home. For example, in a situation like that, the agency might encourage the family to seek drug treatment.
Olivia Jansen’s step-grandmother Elisabeth Jansen said she had made the June 22 allegation. She told the outlet she was worried about Howard Jansen III’s bad temper, and drug use by the couple.
“I mean, if I’m saying that I think my grandchild is, that I’m scared for my grandchild, you’re going to video call and that’s all?” she said.
Another family member had discussed having friction with Jansen III. Olivia’s grandmother Vickey Saindon told KMBC she had last seen her in February just after Valentine’s Day.
“That’s when her dad took her and wouldn’t let me see her no more,” she said.
DCF initially balked at releasing the case summary and records, but they have now put out the summary because they determined Olivia’s death was due to child abuse. The release of the full case file is pending.
[Image via Kansas City Police Department]
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