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Children Victimized By System Secrecy
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
By Wendy McElroy
Denise Moore is the Indiana caseworker who recommended taking 4-year-old Anthony Bars away from a loving foster mother and placed him, instead, with a couple who starved and beat him to death over a 10-month period.  

Had Moore bothered with the required background check, she would have known that the new "home" had a long record of abuse within the child protective services and that the new "father" had a felony battery conviction for savagely beating his own daughter with an extension cord.

Last week, D. Sue Roberson, director of the Indiana Personnel Department, announced that no disciplinary action would be taken against Moore. Why? Citing confidentiality laws, Roberson added, "I am not at liberty to discuss the findings."

Days later, Cheryl Sullivan, secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration,  stated that disciplinary action is still possible. But she affirmed confidentiality and painted her agency as the true victim.

Sullivan's statements came in the wake of a four-month investigation by TV-station WTHR. It came after a court case that convicted Anthony's killers, after criticism from Rep. Phil Hinkle and Gov. Joe Kernan, and heart-breaking questions from Florence Hurst, the foster mom who spent 15 months caring for Anthon. She wanted to adopt Anthony and his sister before Moore recommended their removal.

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