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York County girl's death prompts inquiry of child welfare services

Written by Gordon Rago and Mike Argento/York Daily Record | Jun 10, 2016 9:49 AM
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Barb Sipe left a stuffed polar bear and note on the front lawn of her neighbor's home, where a 3-year-old girl was found dead in her Jackson Township home Wednesday night. (Photo: Jason Plotkin, York Daily Record)

(Undated) -- The mother charged in the Wednesday death of her 3-year-old daughter was being drug tested and receiving in-home services from the York County Office of Children, Youth and Families, a county spokesman said.

Regina Lester was arrested outside her Chesapeake Estates home where officers had to physically restrain her. Police had been sent there around 6 p.m. A neighbor called 911 after one of Lester's children ran out of their home saying that his mom was trying to kill his sister, police said.

Inside the home, police found Isabel Rose Godfrey who was unconscious. An autopsy has been scheduled for Friday morning. The mother, who was being treated in the hospital after the crime, was not listed as an inmate at York County Prison Friday morning.

The family was a client of the Children, Youth and Families, according to York County spokesman Carl Lindquist.

One service that was provided was drug testing for Lester, Lindquist said. He was unable to provide any further details, because he said he is prohibited by the Child Protective Services Law.

The family was also receiving in-home services, Lindquist was able to confirm.

Generally speaking, that is a supportive service meant to address any concerns the agency may have about the family, he said, and would help both the children and a parent get connected with another service they may need.

Meanwhile, a "comprehensive" evaluation known as an Act 33 investigation has also started as a result of Isabel's death, Lindquist said.

"It is a protocol put in place to evaluate each individual case to determine what could have been done, if anything, to change the outcome," Lindquist said Thursday.

The investigation includes representatives from Children, Youth and Families, the state Department of Human Services along with other stakeholders in the community, according to Lindquist.

They start any time there is a child fatality. It will look at the entire child welfare system including Children Youth and Families and others like mandated reporters and determine if there were any "gaps in the system for services," Lindquist said.

This story is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

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