State child welfare authorities may have had a chance to protect 4-month-old Jerry Correa before he was even born.
In October, the Department of Children & Families’ abuse hotline was told that Jerry’s mother, Jhanine Jordan, had been arrested after getting into a fight with her boyfriend. It was the agency’s fourth hotline call
involving Jordan, a former foster child herself.
Jordan was eight months pregnant at the time, and had given birth to her first child with marijuana in her system.
Her boyfriend, Jerry Correa, was on drug offender probation following his 18th arrest.
Little Jerry was born on Nov. 13. He died 119 days later.
DCF administrators will not specify what actions they took to protect him.
On Saturday, one day before he would have turned four months, Jerry stopped breathing in his crib. His parents drove him to Homestead Hospital where he was pronounced dead moments later.
Sources say Jerry’s crib was filled with clutter, and both police and DCF are looking into whether the unsafe sleeping arrangement contributed to his death. The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office is performing an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
. . .
DCF’s first contact with Jordan occurred in 2008, when Jerry’s older sister was born exposed to marijuana, sources say. The agency’s abuse hotline received another call in 2008, and then a third call in 2009. “Mom has been using drugs,’’ the hotline was told. Jordan, DCF was told, had been abusing both Xanax, a tranquilizer, and getting drunk. She reportedly lit a marijuana pipe in front of the little girl. The toddler was dirty, Jordan’s home had broken windows, and Jordan was “constantly’’ getting into fights.
Alanna Landrian, the girlfriend of the toddler’s birth father, said Jordan was avoiding DCF involvement and had not been located until October, when DCF received its last report.
Jordan, the report said, had hit her boyfriend in the face with a soda can. She was arrested by police, and no one was available to take care of the little girl,
who is not being identified to protect her privacy. . . .
“DCF said they couldn’t do anything,’’ said an angry Landrian. “They never do anything.’’
. . .
In court, Lederman told Jordan she had tested positive for both cocaine and benzodiazepines — tranquilizing drugs such as Xanax or Librium. Lederman also said the two parents admitted to taking a drug called “Red Magic’’ the night before Jerry died.
“That happened after my son died,’’ Jordan said of the cocaine.
At the urging of DCF, Lederman placed the little girl in state care, though she said she would consider allowing the girl to live with relatives for the time being.
“At this point,’’ Lederman said, “this is a very serious case.’’ Whoever takes custody of the little girl, Lederman said, should be prepared to adopt her
if Jordan and the girl’s father, who is in prison, are stripped of their parental rights.
Lederman ordered DCF to perform home studies for both Jordan’s mother and the 3-year-old’s uncle, both of whom appeared in court seeking custody. Jordan accused the uncle, Pedro Jimenez, of having very little involvement with the girl. “The home where they live is very small. They have like one room,’’ Jordan said.
“They have food at least,’’ snapped Landrian, the girlfriend of the girl’s birth father, who is Jimenez’s brother.
Lederman suggested Jordan not criticize family members who wanted to help.
“We don’t want her to lose her child, but we want what’s best for the little girl,’’ Jimenez told the judge.
A shouting match between Jordan and Landrian ensued
, and the judge threatened to take the child away from all family members.
“This is a courtroom,’’ Lederman insisted. “Do not behave like animals. If the family cannot behave with decorum in the courtroom, I will place the child in foster care. This is not a street corner.’’