'I've Been Transferred All Over'

Unsatisfied with the response from the District's Child and Family Services Agency, Booker T. Washington Public Charter School for Technical Arts social worker Kathy Lopes called the city's 311 non-emergency hotline on April 30, 2007. Audio Courtesy: Office of D.C. Mayor Adrian FentyAudio: CFSA Phone Call
Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Below is a partial transcript of social worker Kathy Lopes's call to the D.C. police department about the situation at Banita Jacks's home. The call was made three days after Lopes called the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency.

D.C. police dispatcher: D.C. non-emergency 3-1-1. Dispatcher 501003. How may I assist you?

Lopes: Um, I've been transferred all over. I need someone to go out to a home where I believe abuse and neglect is occurring, and I don't want to be transferred to someone else. It's an urgent matter. CFSA is pretty much sitting on it, and I would like someone to go to the home and check out the home, 'cause I wasn't allowed in it. . . .

Dispatcher: All right. And who was abused?

Lopes: Our student, Brittany Jacks, hasn't been to school since March. I went to the home. The mother says she isn't allowing her to leave the house in fear she's going to run away. She would not allow us to speak to her. She's 16 years old. While there, I noticed there were two or three younger children between the ages of 6 and 9 who were home and being kept from school because the mother didn't want them to go to school as well. They've been withdrawn from the school system. . . .

Dispatcher: All right. And you are?

Lopes: I'm the social worker at Booker T. Washington, where the eldest daughter used to attend. Um, I wasn't allow in the home, but from what I could see, the home did not appear clean, the children did not appear clean, and it seemed that the mother is suffering from some mental illness and that she's . . . holding all of her children in the home hostage. . . .

Dispatcher: And your name, ma'am?

Lopes: Kathy Lopes. L-O-P-E-S. This was on Friday, and it hasn't been officially followed up on. I am extremely concerned. . . .

Dispatcher: All right. We'll have the next available unit respond to 4249 the number Sixth Street Southeast. Correct?

Lopes: Yes. Is there any possibility that I could get a follow-up?

Dispatcher: Um, you can call back.

Lopes: Okay.

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