Supervised visitation company calls last week's Amber Alert 'isolated incident'
An executive with the firm whose social worker got distracted enough to allow a mother to snatch her 2-year-old during a supervised visit called last week’s incident an “isolated” one.
In its first public comment since last Friday’s alleged kidnapping, Home Base Collaborative Family Counseling Co-Executive Director Karis Callahan issued a statement, adding that last week’s incident prompted the agency to do its own review.
“Although Friday’s Amber Alert is an isolated incident, we are using it to review and further improve the work we do with children and families,” Callahan said.
On Monday, Gov. Chris Sununu called for Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeff Meyers to lead a state agency investigation into the child-snatching that occurred at the Mall of New Hampshire.
From it headquarters in Dover, Home Base operates three regional offices and provides a range of family services, including supervised visits they contract to do for the Department of Children, Youth and Families.
“This matter is under internal review, and we are cooperating fully with the commissioner’s investigation,” Callahan said.
“It is the goal of Home Base (that) we may work collaboratively with DCYF to strengthen the Child Welfare system in which children’s safety is paramount.”
Simon Malls, the company that owns the Mall of New Hampshire, would not answer questions about whether management is notified of visitations, or whether the company favors the use of its property for parental visitations.
The Home Base firm’s statement refers to the work of “parent educators” who are charged with leading these supervised visits.
“We employ parent educators whose experience, education, on-going training and weekly supervision prepare them to work with families struggling with an array of issues which brought them into contact with DCYF,” Callahan said.
According to its website, the firm employs 21 parent educators, including 14 who work on cases in the Nashua-Manchester area.
The child’s parents, Erika Wallace, 26, and Joshua Wallace, 27, were arrested in Tewksbury, Mass., and arraigned in Lowell, Mass., on outstanding warrants regarding child endangerment and drug possession charges in Massachusetts.
Manchester police said it’s unclear when the Wallaces would be returned to New Hampshire to face the child kidnapping charges.
A third person arrested with the Wallaces in Tewksbury, Nicholette Russell, has not yet been arraigned as Manchester police said they continue to investigate her role in the child snatching.
email@example.com; Union Leader Staff Writer Mark Hayward contributed to this report.