Baby returned to formerly homeless parents - WSMV News 4

Baby returned to formerly homeless parents

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A homeless couple whose baby was taken away from them by DCS five days before Christmas has had the child returned to them.

Candace Griffin and Willard McQuistin are the parents of baby Jeffrey, who is now six months old.

The baby was about to be released from Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in December when DCS took custody of the child because they were homeless.

The couple moved into a trailer in Cheatham County as DCS was removing Jeffrey from their custody, but the couple said it took almost a month before her DCS caseworker, Patricia Lee, came to their home to verify it was suitable.

"She said she hadn't done it yet because she was packed," Griffin said.

The parents said the delay of nearly a month put Jeffrey's health in jeopardy.

 The parents said that while the child was in a foster home, he had diaper rash so serious that his bottom was bleeding; they also said he developed what appeared to be a hernia, and that his skin around the area of his feeding tube was crusted and infected.

Griffin said the foster mother had three other state children in her care and appeared to be unable to care for Jeffrey.

"She said, 'Y'all need to hurry up and get him cause I'm tired of hearing him scream and cry. He is getting on my nerves,'" Griffin said.

Jeffrey was returned to the parents by a juvenile court referee Jan 28th.

DCS has been under fire for under-reporting the deaths of children in state custody.

"I was afraid to let him go with them. I didn't want him to end up a statistic. I don't want him to end up like them other kids. I feel bad for the parents of them other kids," said Willard McQuistin, the baby's father.

A spokeswoman for DCS said she did not have information about the case but would do some research and respond at a later time.

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