Police believe injury to child was unintentional; director Thomas says agency is working out situation with CPS
Things are getting back to normal at Bryan’s House after an employee recently was arrested in connection with an injury sustained by an infant who had been staying at the facility, Executive Director David Thomas said.
Bryan’s House employee Tanisha Lacy, 27, was arrested May 10 on a felony charge of reckless injury to a child after she unintentionally broke the leg of the 5-month-old boy, according to the Dallas Police Department.
The boy had been placed at Bryan’s House by the state Child Protective Services division.
After the injury was discovered during a routine medical exam in March, CPS removed 18 children in its custody from Bryan’s House pending an investigation, leaving the residential portion of the facility empty.
But Thomas said Bryan’s House is now working to fill 13 positions Lacy’s and those of 12 others who were laid off following removal of the children in anticipation that CPS will resume making placements there.
“They [CPS officials] haven’t given us the green light yet, but they seem receptive and pretty positive,” Thomas said. “We’re working real hard on hiring staff and working with them to get the suspension lifted.”
Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for CPS, said her agency has asked
See BRYAN’S HOUSE on PAGE 16
that representatives from Bryan’s House submit a plan detailing measures they will implement to prevent future problems.
“When we have that, we can start considering the option of starting to place children there again,” Gonzales said.
The nonprofit Bryan’s House was started 20 years ago as a facility to treat AIDS babies. It now treats not only children with HIV, but also those with other serious medical conditions and the children of parents with HIV and other conditions. In addition to the residential program, Bryan’s House operates a day care with a capacity of 108 that has not been impacted by the investigation.
Thomas said Lacy had worked at Bryan’s House for four years without any problems and cooperated fully with authorities.
“Apparently in the process of taking the baby’s rectal temperature she put some pressure on the baby’s feet, which the police department believes may have caused this injury,” Thomas said.
Lt. C.L. Williams, supervisor of DPD’s crimes against children division, said based on medical evidence, authorities were able to establish a time frame in which the injury occurred, and they conducted nearly 30 interviews.
“We don’t think the employee intended to do it, but it’s our view that the employee did not exercise a sufficient level of care,” Williams said.
Thomas said he is relieved the matter appears to be resolved.
“It’s been difficult, as you can imagine, on the staff and our board and supporters,” he said. “Certainly we’re going to take even more measures than in the past to make sure we’re safeguarding the safety of children. But other than that I really don’t think it will have a long-term impact.”
Lacy was released on $2,500 bail and awaits the seating of a grand jury to consider her indictment. If convicted, she could face 180 days to two years behind bars.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 25, 2007.