WNYT.com

Local family tries to regain custody of four surviving children

Posted at: 11/09/2012 5:45 PM
By: Bill Lambdin

The family of the 3-year-old girl who died last month in a fire were in court Friday.

They're trying to regain custody of their four surviving children.

It was determined three-year-old Amari Welburn died from a fire started when she lit incense on a stove being used for heat.

Albany County officials removed the four surviving children when the apparently found another stove being used for heat at the family's temporary residence

Various family members have submitted petitions asking for temporary custody of the four other young children who have been placed in foster care that their grandfather Vincent Van Ness finds unsatisfactory.

“The system is taken my grandkids away from the parents and put them in the system where they're dealing with more harsher restrictions. Nott only that, they've gotten sick. They have Coxsackie virus now. They have bumps all over their face,” said Van Ness.

In the days following the fatal fire Judge Margaret Walsh found that it would not be in the children's best interest to stay with their parents. Last week both parents participated in a news conference criticizing the family's forced break up.

“I feel like the kids was tooken without any just cause,” said Welburn.

The parents were in Family court today with lawyers trying to regain that custody. They're being opposed by Albany County's Department of Children, Youth and Families.

Judge Walsh said the goal is to reunite the kids with their parents but it was not in the children's interest to be placed back at this time. She said some services needed to be provided to the parents to fine tune their child rearing skills.

Both the county and the family through their attorneys tried to close the courtroom to the two reporters present but were denied.

The four surviving children remain in non-family foster care for the time being.

The family court is scheduled to review developments and consider possible changes at the end of this month.