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washingtonpost.com > Metro > The District > Government > Lost Children

Bernice Kareem and Purcell Campbell Jr. look for the grave of their goddaughter, Cecelia Rushing, to place a floral cross and balloon there. (Carol Guzy - The Washington Post)
On This Site
Names and Faces Gallery: A look at the children.
Graphics: Charts and tables from the series.

About the Series
DAY 1: Forty children have died in the District in cases where government agencies and workers failed to take preventive actions or placed the children in unsafe homes and institutions.

DAY 2: The story of NickiColma Spriggs, who died at 15 with extreme curvature of the spine in a Delaware nursing home, spotlights the District’s failure to monitor severely disabled wards.

DAY 3: Eleven babies died after social workers have sent infants born with serious medical problems to homes where parents were drug abusers, mentally ill or otherwise unfit.

DAY 4: When social workers and police do not investigate properly, children face the risks: One, 8-year-old Sylvester Brown, was slain by his mentally ill mother despite four separate calls for help.

How the Series Was Done
Full Coverage

Day 1: Decade of Deadly Mistakes
Children in System Died As D.C. Did Little 
One in five of children who died after coming to the attention of the D.C.'s child protection system lost their lives after staff failed to take key preventive action or placed them in dangerous homes or institutions.
 Also in The Post: Mending 'Frayed Trust'
 Also in The Post: A Social Worker Quits


Day 2: Disabled and Forgotten
A Foster Girl Is Sent Away and Dies Alone
Bent over in her wheelchair, her spine twisted by scoliosis, NickiColma Spriggs died at age 15 in the hallway of a Delaware nursing home on Thanksgiving Day 1998. Her body looked like an upside-down L.
 Also in The Post: For the Unwanted, Few Options
 Children's Stories: Bias
 Children's Stories: Waytes, Howard


Day 3: Babies at Risk
No Care for Frail Infants
Eleven drug-exposed or medically frail newborns died from after they were released to parents whose troubles were well documented by hospitals and social workers.
 Also in The Post: No Electricity, No Hope
 Children's Stories: Part 1, Part 2


Day 4: A Failure to Investigate
Child Endangered, Without a Lifeline
In dozens of cases involving child neglect or abuse complaints brought to the attention of the District's child protection system, police officers and social workers responsible for the safety of children failed to take the most basic steps to shield them from harm.
 Video: Cecilia Rushing's Godmother
 Video: Monica Wheeler's Godmother
 Children's Stories: Part 1, Part 2


Editorials

Death of the City's Innocents (The Washington Post, 9/16/01)

Cloaking Deaths in Secrecy (The Washington Post, 10/2/01)

The Seventh Child to Die (The Washington Post, 10/27/01)

A Family Court Bill Made Better (The Washington Post, 12/4/01)


Following the Series
More Stories


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