Julissia Batties, a seven-year-old child who died last week, was failed repeatedly by the child welfare system meant to protect her. Her death, which is still under investigation, occurred while in the custody of her mother, after her older half-brother admitted to physically assaulting her the evening before she was found dead.
Now Julissia’s extended family wants answers as to how the seven year old fell through the cracks of the system meant to protect children and families: The New York Administration of Child Services.
Julissia had had a child welfare file since birth, due to concerns about abuse of her older siblings, and although she was checked on by child welfare officials, she clearly slipped through the cracks. In Julissia’s last months, she was said to have had bruises on her face, but a call that was made about her care in the weeks before she died was not looked into.
Child Welfare fails child
According to her grandmother, Yolanda Davis, Julissia “was a good child. She didn’t give any problems. And we loved her. She died at a young age … She loved all. Deeply … We know that now she’s in a better place … [God] took her back home because I did all I could.”
Julissia lived on and off with Ms. Davis, who is now awaiting the release of Julissia’s body in order to have a proper funeral for the young child. Ms. Davis claims she has been denied access to Julissia’s body since the young girl’s death last week.
Julissia’s death also continues to confound her extended family members, who are confused about the exact circumstances surrounding her passing. Julissia’s mother, who was caring for the child, said she found Julissia dead in her bed, while her half-brother admits to having punched her the evening before.
No charges in death of Julissia
Regardless, the outcome is the same: a seven-year-old child is no longer on this earth.
According to New York’s Administration for Child Services, “the death of 7-year-old Julissia is a terrible tragedy, and we mourn her loss. We are conducting an intensive review of this case to ensure that we are doing everything possible to keep children safe and families supported.”
Meanwhile, since her death, no child welfare workers have been charged with neglecting Julissia. Neither her mother nor her brother have been charged with any crimes relating to Julissia’s death.