Why didn't DSS take in children?

August 18, 2010 3:44:20 PM PDT
North Carolina officials are investigating the actions of social workers in two counties after an exclusive report from ABC11.

As we reported Tuesday, North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Jack Thorpe is being is being credited with rescuing three children from an allegedly abusive situation.

According to authorities, a 14-year-old girl texted her mother for help while riding in a vehicle on I-40 earlier this month.

The girl said her stepmother tried to break her leg and had punched her younger brother in the face. She also said her father had pulled her hair.

Authorities used mile marker information relayed from the girl to help Thorpe find the vehicle and stop it in Sampson County.

Once Thorpe rescued the kids, he tried to get social workers with the NC Division of Social Services near his home base in Johnston County to take them in temporarily until their natural mother could drive down from Baltimore to collect them.

He said they would not because the kids were from out of state and were found in another county. So, Thorpe ended up taking the children to his own home - with the permission of the mother - until she was able to complete the 12 hour drive.

"I feel like they failed at this point. In this particular instance they failed and something needs to be done about that," said Thorpe.

The children's mother says Johnston County social workers suggested the kids should stay with their father - who was accused of abusing them - until she arrived.

"Just the fact that they asked me if they could stay with their father was shocking to me," said Rabia Beydoun. "I said 'What do you mean stay with their father? They were just abused by them and you want them to stay with them?' I said 'No. I'm heading there and I'm going to get there as soon as possible.'"

"What if you don't have a Trooper Jack? What happens to those kids? I'm very disappointed," she continued.

Thorpe says the system needs to change.

"It needs to be known and those children need to be protected," he offered.

Social workers in both Johnston and Sampson counties told ABC11 Wednesday that they did agree to take the kids, but Trooper Thorpe moved faster than they could.

Both the state and local DSS officials say they're reviewing what happened.

Neither the children's father or stepmother were charged with abuse because officials couldn't determine exactly where the alleged took place, and therefore couldn't determine who had jurisdiction.

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