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Federal law sent boy home month before death

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (AP) 10-07

The death of a 5-year-old boy, allegedly at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend, came after the child was sent back to the woman under a federal requirement even though the state wanted her parental rights terminated, according to a new report.

A report from the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth said Declan Stewart of Edmond was returned to his mother, Janet L. Stewart, 29, on July 3 after being in state custody since January 2006. The state wanted her parental rights terminated because of “shocking” abuse, the report said.

Declan died Aug. 12, and Marcus Clancy, 30, the mother’s boyfriend, is charged with first-degree murder in his death.

The youth agency’s report shows the state withdrew a request for termination of the mother’s parental rights because the Cherokee Nation didn’t agree with it.

“A journal entry in the court record stated that the mother had completed her treatment plan and that the Cherokee Nation was in agreement with the reunification,” the report said.

Tribes are allowed under the Indian Child Welfare Act to step in and have a say in how child welfare cases are handled when Indian children are involved.

The intent of the act is to protect Indian children from the breakup of their families.

According to police reports, Clancy said the boy fell Aug. 11 while climbing in a closet and hit his head on a bed rail. Doctors said the boy was abused.

On Jan 9, 2006, the boy was suffering from bruising in the area of his genitals, thigh, back and shoulder, police reported. Stewart then had said she had no explanation for the bruises but that Clancy was potty training her son, according to the commission’s report.

Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com
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