Yolo County officials have declined releasing child welfare records related to Justice Rees, the child of Samantha Lee Green, who is facing charges on suspicion of causing her child’s death.
Yolo County Counsel Phil Pogledich, in a statement, said “child welfare records are confidential under state law and, generally, cannot be released until the completion of a criminal investigation into the circumstances of a child’s death.” He said his office “was sympathetic to the media and the public’s desire for more information” and that information will be released after the investigation is over.
“[SB 39] provides for and allows the release of information. Just because this is a criminal investigation doesn’t entitle the county to withhold information. … In many cases, there is a criminal prosecution [when a child dies]. In what way would a past contact with the family obstruct a present investigation?” said Bill Grimm, a senior attorney at National Center for Youth Law, characterizing the county’s choice as a “knee-jerk response.”
Justice Rees was born with meth in his system, which caused Child Protective Services to investigate the mother and child, said his paternal grandmother, Patricia Rees. She said Justice was allowed to live with his parents after they developed a “safety plan” and tested negative for drugs.
Organizations mentioned/involved: National Center for Youth Law (NCYL)