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'Why are you sitting on it?' Former Rosewood employee says DHHS took too long to report child abuse

A citation against a Rosewood co-owner was given in early April after OPD was notified
Posted at 5:45 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 19:35:18-04

OMAHA, Neb — A former Rosewood Academy employee says she reported concerns she had about her employer Carl Hansen to Child Protective Services. She is furious over how long it took for the state to contact police, she told 3 News Now Investigator Courtney Johns.

Hansen is accused of causing a two-year-old boy to fall, yanking him by the foot, then leaving a mark when picking him up by the arm on Jan. 29.

In an agreement stating that Hansen was not permitted around children at Rosewood, the state noted it was aware of an investigation involving Hansen on February 10. But the police report notes that it was reported to OPD on March 25.

State law says the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services "shall, by the next working day after receiving a report of child abuse or neglect" report it to law enforcement.

Omaha Police Lt. Kara Platt with the Special Victims Unit said they'd like to hear actionable tips from CPS as soon as possible. OPD had no concerns with the timeliness in this case, she said.

"The coordination...was done correctly," she said, "It was done as quickly as possible."

DHHS said in a statement, in part: "DHHS has fully cooperated with OPD regarding allegations against Rosewood facilities. Across the board, in all cases involving allegations of child neglect or abuse, DHHS works closely with law enforcement..."

The full statement is available at the bottom of this page.

Citations against Hansen and two former Rosewood employees were made by OPD on April 8. The two former employees facing changes, Summer Dawson and Sage Bartow, are accused of caretaker neglect in late 2020.

Learn more: OPD releases reports on Rosewood Academy incidents

In the Bartow case, OPD said it was made aware of the alleged incident that took place on Dec. 16, 2020, 105 days later. A parent reached out on March 31 to see if police were aware of a DHHS investigation.

All three pleaded not guilty. Hansen is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday. Bartow and Dawson are scheduled to appear on July 9.

The former employee we spoke with agreed to speak with 3 News Now Investigators if her identity was concealed. She was concerned going public could make it difficult to remain in the child care field.

"(A CPS investigator) said to me that she'd heard about this family before. And she'd been investigating them before," she said. "If you're looking at somebody and saying 'ugh, them again,' why are you sitting on it?"

Each of the three Rosewood Academy locations are closed. It first closed voluntarily, according to letters the owners sent to parents, but later was shut down by emergency order. Rosewood initially intended to contest that during a hearing, but that hearing was canceled.

Learn more: DHHS declares emergency situation at Rosewood Academy facilities

3 News Now Investigators spoke with Mandy Evert, who was a Rosewood parent, in April.

Learn more: Rosewood Academy parent rattled by daycare investigation, closing; wonders if she could've done more

DHHS gave this statement:

DHHS has fully cooperated with OPD regarding allegations against Rosewood facilities. Across the board, in all cases involving allegations of child neglect or abuse, DHHS works closely with law enforcement and provides any and all necessary information and resources to help with law enforcement investigations. Any allegation of abuse reported to DHHS is taken very seriously and is acted upon swiftly. Numerous protocols and safeguards are in place with the specific purpose of ensuring that abuse allegations are appropriately addressed because children’s safety is DHHS’s highest priority. Additionally, the Department’s actions are reviewed internally on a regular basis to verify adherence to these safeguards and protocols. Due to ongoing investigations, confidentiality provisions and state statutes, this statement is all the information DHHS is able to provide at this time regarding the allegations against Rosewood facilities.

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