EUCLID- The FOX 8 I TEAM has obtained text messages raising new questions about what Cuyahoga County child welfare workers knew about the troubled life of Aniya Day Garrett, a 4- year-old recently beaten to death.
This week, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services cited the little girl’s day care for not immediately reporting suspected abuse to local family case workers. But now a former employee at the day care is speaking out to the I TEAM and sharing evidence she and others tried to get help for Aniya long before her death.
Michelle Marshall said, "It didn't have to happen because the social worker said, it’s going to be an ongoing investigation."
Aniya’s mother and her boyfriend are now facing charges for the death of the little girl. A police report shows, last May, the day care called police, and the child went to the hospital to have injuries checked out. And the report shows, the day care had documented more than a dozen incidents of suspected abuse.
Marshall worked at Harbor Crest Childcare Academy in Euclid. She showed us, last April, she texted a supervisor, “Again Aniya comes in with a bruised lip and said her mommy slapped her.”
A text came back, “Okay thanks I will report.’
Marshall said two days later, "There's a knock at the door. I go to the door. And it’s someone from County. She shows me her badge. She's from County. She comes in.'
And in May, when the day care called police, Marshall went to the hospital with Aniya. Marshall said she spoke with a County case worker then and later. She added, "She said it’s an ongoing investigation. There'll be monitoring and counseling, so I'm thinking Aniya is safe.”
The child’s father has also told us he had reported abuse.
In response to the citation from the State, the Harbor Crest Childcare Academy wrote, “It was reported February 2017, April 2017, and May 2017. Harbor Crest Childcare Academy disagrees with the findings.”
The day care also responded to the citation by telling the state that all employees, even maintenance workers, are now being told to call a county kids welfare hotline directly and then notify day care supervisors.
The state agency is also reviewing how the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services handled the case. And the County has an outside panel doing its own review.
This comes as Cuyahoga County child welfare workers have come under fire after deaths of children in multiple cases even though the County had been involved with the families.
Protestors demonstrated last month and on Friday calling for reform and more protection for children. And another protest will be held outside County child welfare worker headquarters Sunday.
Michelle Marshall said cut through the finger-pointing, day care workers loved Aniya. Marshall said, "But is the day care responsible for Aniya's death? Absolutely not."