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Department of Human Services

Ardmore, OK: (May-14-07) A settlement was reached in a lawsuit filed against the Department of Human Services (DHS), after a house fire claimed the lives of three children. One-year-old Christian, 2-year-old Makayla, and 3-year-old Isaiah died in their bedroom before they could be saved, when their mother left the house for a while, only to return to see it up in flames. Reports indicate the family had been investigated by the Department of Human Services and child welfare workers because of complaints from the children's father and grandparents. During the visits, workers discovered the house was full of trash, roaches, and there were flies swarming all over the children's belongings. Sarah Ganis, the mother of the the three children, was convicted of nine counts of child neglect in 2004 and is currently serving a 40-year prison sentence. In a settlement in the wrongful deaths lawsuit, the DHS agreed to pay $200,000, and two private child-welfare agencies paid $135,000. Both groups do not claim liability for the fire. The church that owned the house paid $35,000. The home allegedly had no working smoke detectors. $100,000 of the settlement would go to a non-profit organization to prevent child abuse. The grandparents collected about $85,000 after legal costs. None of the money went to the children's mother or father. [KTEN NEWS: CHILD NEGLECT]

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Published on May-15-07


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