KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Olivia Jansen’s relatives say they tried to get help for her from the state. Help didn’t come soon enough.
And now other families say they fear that same system is failing them, too.
Dozens marched from the Wyandotte County Courthouse to the Kansas Department for Children and Families in KCK, voicing their frustration over what they called incompetence at DCF.
“When my wife and I heard about Olivia, we just started crying,” Robert Ingraham said.
Three-year-old Olivia Jansen’s father, Howard Jansen III reported his daughter missing Friday morning. Later that day, after hours of searching, a tip led police to a wooded area near 34th Street and Steele Road. Detectives found Olivia’s body in a shallow grave.
KCK police impounded a silver SUV, which allegedly belongs to Jansen’s girlfriend, Jaqueline Kirkpatrick, as evidence in Olivia’s death. FOX4’s cameras caught what police call potential evidence in the back of the SUV — a shovel and a tote bag.
Ingraham fears his grandchildren could end up like Olivia.
“The same exact thing that happened to Olivia happened with us back in 2017,” he said. “We were calling and calling. The police department was calling.”
Fearing their grandchildren were being abused and neglected because of what they called mental health issues and drug abuse in the children’s home, the Ingrahams called DCF repeatedly.
“And nothing happened for over eight months, and for eight months we kept calling and calling, and everyone said this is insane. It’s crazy,” Ingraham said. “Well, the system is broken.”
Olivia didn’t have eight months. One of several reported calls to DCF happened just 17 days before the 3-year-old was found dead.
The Ingrahams said they did eventually get temporary custody of their grandchildren, who have now been returned to their parents. But they believe the children are still in danger, and they said they’re not getting any help protecting them.
“Olivia is the same age as our grandchildren were when we had them,” Ingraham said. “We are absolutely scared for their safety.”
In the case of Olivia Jansen, a Kansas DCF spokesperson said the agency will release a summery of DCF’s involvement with the girl early next week.