Wed November 20, 2013
Monroe Couple Were Guardians, Not Foster Parents Of Handcuffed Child
The Monroe couple charged with child abuse for allegedly handcuffing an 11-year-old boy to their front porch with a dead chicken tied around his neck are not the foster parents of that child, as previously reported. DHHS says the foster care license for Wanda Larson and Dorian Harper expired in 2010.
The state health department says Wanda Sue Larson ran a foster home for a dozen years, between 1998 and 2010 along with her partner Dorian Lee Harper. But their license expired in December 2010, and they have not had foster children in their home since 2009.
This contradicts an earlier report from the Union County Sheriff’s Office, which said the couple was the foster parent of the 11-year-old boy that was handcuffed to the porch on Friday. They had four adopted children in their care, but the eleven-year-old boy was not one of them. Union County Sherriff Eddie Cathey says the couple told police that they were the guardian of the 11-year-old child.
It's important to note that when a child is adopted or placed under guardianship, that's when oversight stops. The Union County Department of Social Services supervised the foster home between 1998 and 2003. Gaston County's DSS office then started to supervise their foster home in 2003 after Larson started working as a social worker with Union County's DSS office.
The Charlotte Observer reports that two of the six adopted children were from Gaston County. They were both first cousins of the 11-year-old boy who was handcuffed.
The state health department says the couple completed 30 hours of training in 1998 and then 20 hours of training every two years to keep their foster care license.
DHHS says it will review all of the child welfare cases in the couple’s home and look into how the home was supervised. They will also continue their investigation of Union County’s child welfare program.