21-Month-Old's Death Will Not be in Vain

21-Month-Old's Death Will Not be in Vain

Parents in the community are speaking out after they say they fostered children for seven years and think the system is flawed.
FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. - A 'Celebration of Life' with a balloon release honored 21-month-old Anayah Williams, who died after allegedly suffering abuse at the hands of her parents Frankie and Stephanie Williams. Anayah was reunited with her biological parents just three weeks before her death and both parents are now facing child abuse charges, the little girl's father facing child abuse resulting in death.

Now a group of foster parents in Frederick County, Maryland are speaking out, and say they think the reunification process is flawed.

"There are a lot of wonderful people that work in social services and we don't blame the social workers, we blame the system. We've felt this was going to happen we were waiting for this to happen," said Cindi Webb, who was a foster parent for 24 children over seven years.  

Cindi Webb and Cathy Sipocz have fostered a total of 39 children between the two of them, and say they want to see changes in the reunification process.

"There's almost nothing we can say, we can't bring her back, we can't but we can continue our mission and that is to get some things changed so this doesn't happen anymore," said Cathy Sipocz, a foster mom of seven years.

After Anayah's death we reached out to the Frederick County Department of Social Services, and they referred us to Maryland's Department of Human Resources. The Department of Human Resources had Arnold Eby of the Maryland Resource Parents Association speak on their behalf.

"There are flaws in any system, and the important thing is to work together to take these kinds of tragedies and turn them into positives," said Arnold Eby, president of the Maryland Resource Parents Association.

Frederick County State's Attorney Charlie Smith admits hindsight is 20/20 and Anayah should have never returned to her biological parents, but stands by the system, and says the reunification process is stringent.

"The process in place is a good process and I think with regard to proving cases, we have to prove them beyond reasonable doubt and unfortunately, you have a child that can't speak and no witnesses of the event," said State's Attorney Charlie Smith.

Smith says the child abuse was obvious, though they could never prove who abused Anayah.

"We've met about this, about our concerns and this is kind of the nightmare that comes true," said Webb.

Webb and Sipocz say they've been meeting with other foster parents in the community over the last two years about their concerns. They say Anayah's death will not be in vain, and they will continue to push for changes within the foster care system.

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