CLEVELAND — The FOX 8 I-Team is investigating claims social workers let a family fall through the cracks before police arrested a mother for the suspected death of her 5-year old son.
And now, the Cuyahoga County child welfare agency is responding.
This week, Cleveland Police arrested Larissa Rodriguez, and Tuesday, investigators found human remains in the back yard believed to be those of a child.
At the scene, relatives of the mother cried out they had called a child welfare hotline and nothing was done.
Mary Louise Madigan, a spokesperson for Cuyahoga County, says the last complaint about the family came to the agency last December. That led to visits from a case worker, and the last visit to the home was done in February. At that time, the last case the county had was closed.
The county says it has dealt with the mother since 1999 for complaints ranging from neglect to physical abuse. And the county says, over that time, workers have taken 18 calls about the mother resulting in 13 investigations. Those investigations have included complaints ranging from abuse to neglect. Child welfare workers say they have provided parenting education, mental health services and more.
Larissa Rodriguez is 34 years old with 9 kids, and she is pregnant again.
In the past, the county took two children away from the mother permanently. Two other children have been with their fathers.
The I-Team also checked when police have been to the home before and why. We found a handful of reports from the last year. This mother filed a couple reports against an ex-lover for domestic violence and threats. She also filed a few other police reports for trouble with a 17-year-old son.
We found no calls to police leading to a criminal child endangering case until this week. The brother of the missing child’s stepdad called 911 with a tip.
In light of the seriousness of the case, and the long, tangled history, the county is now doing an intensive internal review looking back at every referral and contact child welfare case workers have had with the family.