Our digging into the death of baby Braxton in foster care led to a state investigation and sweeping changes in Virginia Beach Social Services.
Now, a year after our story, the director is stepping down.
Investigator Mike Mather broke this story and has the new details.
State investigators called him ineffective. Some city council members wanted him out. Now, after first saying he would not resign, the man in charge of the Beach’s Social Services Agency, the man blamed for a deparment in crisis, is stepping down.
“When you look at that picture, is that how you remember Braxton?”
“Have you seen this picture?”
This is the interview, and the picture, that made the difference. These experienced foster parents said the city’s child-welfare system badly failed Baby Braxton, and no one in the system was held accountable. An autopsy revealed chronic abuse that unfolded right under the noses of child-welfare workers, the people who were supposed to protect him. His second foster mother hurt him over and over. She fooled social workers with implausible stories. Then she killed him.
When we broke this story a year ago, Virginia Beach Human Services director Bob Morin insisted his staff had done nothing wrong. Others disagreed. State investigators issued a stinging report, saying the city’s entire child-welfare system was in crisis, failing the kids it was supposed to protect. Much of the blame fell to the leader.
“So you are intending to stay in this position?”
“Yes, I am.”
But now, as a city task force works under state orders to reshape the department, Director Bob Morin has submitted his resignation.
Today Braxton’s first foster mother told NewsChannel 3, ‘Obviously we feel this is long overdue.’
And Braxton’s grandmother told us: ‘Our family is pleased to finally have some small measure of justice.’
The city is under state orders essentially to bring the child-welfare agency back into line with accepted standards.
City leaders would not discuss this resignation or the reasons behind it, calling it a private personnel matter.