The division spent most of that sum over the past two years, during a child welfare case that saw 10 of the couple’s 11 children placed in foster care for varying periods of time.
The complicated case began in February 2004 after the couple and their two oldest daughters got into a fight over ear piercing. Those girls were immediately removed from Mattingly Foster’s home; eight months later, the other children were pulled from the home after a caseworker alleged their parents were being uncooperative.
The couple voluntarily gave up their parental rights to the older girls, ages 17 and 14, in October and they remain in state custody.
The other children, who now range in age from 3 to 16, spent between seven and 10 months in foster care before being returned in to Mattingly Foster last summer. The youngest child remained in her care.
Carol Sisco, DCFS spokeswoman, said the case was unusual in the number of children involved, its length and the types of services the children required.
The state’s actual tab is obviously far higher, since the figure does not include costs of the Attorney General’s or Guardian ad Litem’s offices.
Kristin Brewer, GAL director, said she did not have a “rolling total.” Mark May, chief of the child protection division in the AG’s office, declined to provide a breakdown of costs. He said that was “privileged information between us and our client [DCFS].” “We put in a lot of time because that is what the case demanded,” said May, adding that what he called “frivolous motions” filed by Kingston’s lawyer increased costs. “We had to deal with all of that.
“It certainly was not a routine case,” he said.
Most of the money DCFS spent paid for out-of-home care – $215,000 went to foster parents who took the children into their homes. Another $135,000 is attributed to time spent on the case by caseworkers, supervisors and other indirect expenses.
And it cost $31,000 to provide family preservation services, in-home supervision for visits and to conduct child protective service investigations.
The estimate includes services provided briefly in 1996-97 for some of the children, according to an analysis provided to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Several weeks ago, 3rd District Juvenile Judge Elizabeth Lindsley agreed to let Kingston have unlimited contact with Mattingly Foster’s children but refused to close the case. She said DCFS caseworkers may make surprise visits to check up on the children and set the next review for June 15.
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