Records show prior complaints
Bakersfield Californian, The (CA)
Author: CHRISTINA VANCE, Californian staff writere-mail: email@example.com
A Bakersfield foster mom who had a baby die in her care faced previous abuse accusations, records say.
Sabrina Stafford's foster-licensing file revealed that the mother of three had two complaints leveled against her from the time she was licensed in August 2001.
Stafford was arrested Sept. 15 on suspicion of child endangerment, but she was later released without being charged.
Bakersfield police say they are waiting for the infant's autopsy to be finished before deciding what charges to pursue. Efforts to reach Stafford were unsuccessful.
Angelic Rose Clary, 3 months, was found dead Sept. 14 by paramedics called to Stafford's apartment on Castleford Street.
No cause of death has been released. A Kern County coroner's spokeswoman said toxicology and other tests should be finished any day.
Police said the dead infant had scabs on her ear that may have been caused by ant bites and that she had dead ants in her diaper.
Angelic was one of two twin girls staying at the home. Paramedics found her sister suffering from a 104.8-degree fever, police said.
Doctors at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital later said the living twin was hungry, dehydrated and had barbiturates in her system. Barbiturates are depressants often used as sleeping pills.
Stafford has no local criminal record, according to court files.
But her file at the Department of Human Services mentioned two Child Protective Services investigations of her.
The first complaint, dated January 2002, alleged Stafford hit one of her children on the back and thighs, leaving marks.
Stafford told investigators she last used a switch on her daughter a month before the allegation was reported, according to her file. She said she also used such forms of discipline as making her children stand in the corner.
Investigators concluded no license violations were committed, according to the documents.
The second complaint came in May 2002, alleging Stafford burned a 3-year-old foster child on the hip with a hot spoon.
Investigators made note of a scab on the child but said statements of children in the home were inconclusive. An investigator also made note of an ant infestation at the house, according to the file.
Stafford said the burning incident never happened. The report said further investigation was needed.
The results of the investigation didn't appear in the file but in August 2002, Stafford asked that her license be discontinued because she was moving to Visalia.
When Stafford re-applied for a license in early 2003, it was granted. She was licensed for two emergency placements.
Then, a few days after Angelic's death, the department suspended Stafford's license.
Department of Human Services spokeswoman Barbara Zimmermann said referrals against foster parents aren't common.
When someone makes an accusation against a foster parent, Zimmermann said, it's treated just like one against anyone else and investigated thoroughly.
She said referrals sometimes come from birth parents who aren't happy with having their children taken away and placed in foster homes.