Police search for 8 children taken from N.Y. foster-care center
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Four days after eight children were taken from a foster-care center, New York police on Thursday were still searching for them and the mother and father suspected of abducting them during what was supposedly a supervised visit.
The case has focused attention on the social workers responsible Monday for keeping watch as Shanel Nadal spent time with her children, seven boys and one girl who range in age from 11 months to 11 years old.
Police suspect that the father, Nephra Payne, was waiting in a car outside the facility in the New York City borough of Queens, and that Nadal herded the children into the car after somehow getting them all together and away from the people who were monitoring the visit. According to an ABC News report, the facility is secure and requires a special access card to enter or leave.
The city’s Administration for Children’s Services, which oversees the foster-care system, said it was investigating how the mother might have left the facility with eight children without being stopped. ‘During supervised visits, an agency staff member should be present at all times while still affording the family personal time together,’ it said in a statement.
The department would not say why the children were in foster care, but several media reports have said there had been allegations of domestic abuse at home.
Arrest warrants in connection with the abduction were issued for both Nadal, 28, and Payne, 34.
The Administration for Children’s Services came under scrutiny last year after the death of 4-year-old Marchella Pierce, who weighed 18 pounds and whose body showed signs of abuse. A department caseworker and his supervisor have been charged with criminally negligent homicide for allegedly failing to follow up on reports of abuse in the home. They also are accused of faking reports that indicated more visits to the home than actually occurred. The girl’s mother and grandmother were charged in her death.
-- Tina Susman in New York