PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s child welfare agency and a mother whose baby was allegedly killed by a 10-year-old girl agree — the girl’s mother also is to blame.
The mother, who was baby sitting the infant when she died July 8 and whose daughter was charged this week with manslaughter, has not said if she plans to appeal the state agency’s finding.
Three-month-old Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway ingested medication and was suffocated, her mother Nicole “Nicki” Greenaway of Clinton has said. The baby was staying overnight with the sitter in Fairfield, and Greenaway has said the sitter also should be held responsible.
“I feel a little bit of relief that they’re charging her (the sitter’s) daughter at this point, but the mom really needs to be responsible. She’s the one I left my daughter with,” Greenaway said.
The 10-year-old was charged in juvenile court and placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services. The girl will not be tried in the state’s adult court system, said Deputy Attorney General Bill Stokes. He said she is the youngest homicide suspect in his 35 years as a state prosecutor.
In a letter obtained Friday by The Associated Press, department caseworker Christopher Filteau wrote the sitter that she made mistakes by leaving the baby in her daughter’s bedroom. The caseworker said the 10-year-old has behavior disorders and was not suitable for caring for the infant.
“You neglected to provide the proper level of supervision by allowing Brooklyn to remain in (the girl’s) care,” the caseworker wrote Aug. 10. “Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway has died as a result of your neglect.”
The letter said the 10-year-old girl has “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,” ”oppositional defiant disorder” and “attachment disorder.”
The letter was first reported by the Kennebec Journal. The Associated Press is not naming the sitter because it could make known the juvenile suspect’s identity.
The baby sitter, who has not been charged, referred questions to her lawyer. No one answered her lawyer’s office phone during business hours.
The sitter has a right to appeal the state agency’s findings, but it is unclear if she intends to do so. A DHHS spokeswoman declined comment.
A roommate who was in the Fairfield house when Brooklyn died told the AP that the baby was sleeping in the girl’s room and that she heard occasional crying from the bedroom before chaos erupted.
Ashley Tenney said she was awakened by a commotion and went upstairs to see a terrified look on the girl’s face as the mother performed CPR on the baby.
“I was unsure what was going on because I was half asleep. I heard a lot of crying and screaming, and I heard the word ‘dead,’” said Tenney, who has since moved out.
For now, the criminal investigation is focused on the girl, not her mother, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. A lawyer representing the girl declined to comment Friday.
More information will be filed in conjunction with the girl’s first appearance in October in juvenile court, where the maximum penalty for a conviction is incarceration until age 21.
“The juvenile justice system is designed to hold people accountable but to deal with young offenders in a way that prevents future occurrences and gets them the help they need. That’s the focus we’ll be driving at,” Stokes said.
In Fairfield, 70 miles north of Portland, neighbors had nothing bad to say about the baby sitter or her children, who live in a tidy white house.
“She’s very pleasant, not a neighborhood disruptor or anything like that,” said neighbor Jon Cochran, who lives across the street. He called them “a regular family.”