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Child welfare made repeat visits to Phoenix home of boys who were killed

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Child Safety has admitted that it had investigated three reports of problems at the Phoenix home where three boys were killed this week. Police suspect their 29-year-old mother of the stabbings.

The children’s bodies were found in a closet with multiple stab injuries. The woman remained in a hospital in critical condition Friday from self-inflicted stab wounds.

The department released a statement over 24 hours after the brutal killings of Jaikare Rahaman, 8, Jeremiah Adams, 5, and Avery Robinson, 2 months, near 25th Avenue and Bell Road. The agency noted inquiries into the boys’ welfare were made in 2010, 2011 and earlier this year.

Twice, case workers recommended the mother look into family preservation services. She refused both times.

“… When a child is murdered, it’s common to ask if something could have been done to prevent such a tragedy. At DCS, we ask ourselves those questions because we take the responsibility of protecting children very seriously. But our powers are limited; we cannot predict the future; and people, can at times, do awful things.”

All three incidents revolved around reports of marijuana use in the house and two times a child had suffered a minor injury.

The first report, in 2010, said DCS had been alerted to allegations of a child in the house who had a small abrasion on his forehead. Investigators couldn’t find the family. The home is shared by the woman, her brother (who found her in the house, bleeding, Thursday) and their mother.

Investigators returned the next year to check into claims of marijuana odor coming from the home. That constituted child neglect. The mother turned down a recommendation for family crisis services. DCS contracts and pays for the service.

The agency said in the release, “There was no reason or legal grounds to take the children into emergency state care and the case was closed as unsubstantiated.”

On the final visit, just a couple of months ago, DCS investigated an accusation that the mother had given birth to a baby exposed to marijuana.

“The investigator found the children to be safe and referred the mother for services, again contracted and paid for by DCS. The mother did not participate in services by the provider.

“There was no reason or legal grounds to take the children into emergency state care. The case was substantiated and closed,” according to the statement.

The agency offered its condolences to the family.

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