The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Rave

June 23, 2012

Re-examine visits for jailed parents

Upon learning that a woman accused of getting her daughter hooked on drugs was being visited by the girl in jail, Snyder County District Judge Lori Hackenberg immediately pledged to end the visits.

Children and Youth staff said that even if a parent is incarcerated, in most cases, the agency has an obligation to allow parents to see their children. In situations where a parent is accused of a crime, the visits are supervised, no physical contact is allowed, and they are not permitted to discuss the offense, Weir said.

The sticky part of Brandi Lyn Baumgardner's situation is that she is in jail because she put her daughter in danger by teaching the girl how to use drugs.

Baumgardner's daughter is one of her victims. Allowing her to continue seeing the girl would make as much sense as allowing Jerry Sandusky to continue contacting the boys who allege he abused them.

Baumgardner and the girl were separated only after another juvenile almost lost his life to a drug overdose that allegedly happened after Baumgardner had allegedly coached him into breaking into a home to steal prescription drugs. After Baumgardner's arrest for her role in the 2010 break-in, her daughter was sent to a residential treatment center in Lycoming County. There, the girl shared her harrowing story: telling police and caseworkers that after she started using drugs with her mom at the age of 12 and that over the next two years, she graduated from marijuana to crack cocaine, prescription pills and heroin. She told police that her mom had injected her with drugs as many as 200 times.

Snyder County District Attorney Mike Piecuch said he will work to revise the rules to eliminate the need for a court order to prevent children from visiting incarcerated parents accused of mistreating them.

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