Delaware DSCYF wants Matusiewicz girls to stay together
February 13, 2013By Shana O'Malley
Their father is behind bars. Their mother was gunned down by their paternal grandfather who then turned the gun on himself. Their paternal grandmother joined their father in once kidnapping them.
Some of you reading our reporting on NewsWorks are wondering what will happen to the three Matusiewicz girls at the center of a twisted and tragic family dispute?
According to the Delaware Department of Service for Children, Youth and their Families, everything will be done to make sure all three girls will stay together.
“When we have sibling groups, as much as possible, we try and keep them together,” explained Andrea Wojcik, community relations coordinator for DSCYF. “Siblings are really an important support system for each other and can be really key to ensuring that they have a really positive, optimistic hopeful outlook for their future.”
At ages 7, 9 and 10, the children have already experienced a turbulent life. In 2007, their father David Matusiewicz and grandmother Lenore Matusiewicz illegally took them on a 19 month hideout in Central and South America before they we’re discovered in Nicaragua. Their father was sentenced to four years in prison and was released last year on probation. However, their mother Christine Belford and father continued to work out the details of co-parenting which lead to Monday’s court hearing regarding child support.
With such complicated family custody issues, it’s unclear who will care for the girls.
“First we look at the family and then if we determine for whatever the reason are not able or not appropriate to care for the children, that’s when we would move them into a foster care setting,” said Wojcik.
One of the children was also identified with autism, meaning she will need to be cared for by someone who is willing and able to care for a special needs child.
“If you have a foster family that just seems to have a better environment for the child and may not have as much training as another family in special needs, then were going to place that child where they can thrive and grow the best,” explained Wojcik. “Obviously as much as possible we will try and place children with more experienced foster families in a case where they maybe had special needs.”
One possible candidate could be Christine Belford’s father, James Belford of Wilmington.