‘That’s all?’: Family shocked at how DCF handled reports in 3-year-old Olivia Jansen’s case

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (WDAF) — The Kansas Department for Children and Families released a summary Friday of its involvement with 3-year-old Olivia Jansen and her family. 

On June 10, Olivia’s father, Howard Jansen III, reported her missing. That same day, Olivia’s body was found in a shallow grave in a wooded area in KCK, not far from where her family lived. 

Howard Jansen III and his girlfriend Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick have been charged with murder, among other crimes in Olivia’s death. 

RELATED LINK | Kansas’ child welfare agency releases public reports involving killed 3-year-old Olivia Jansen 

Newly released DCF documents confirm the agency had been in contact with the family before the child’s death, and it found that Olivia’s death was the result of child abuse. 

The DCF summary includes a brief description of three separate reports to the agency from two days.  

The first two reports both came on Feb. 28, 2020. One report alleged “dad,” Howard Jansen III, hit Olivia on the leg leaving a bruise, and there was indication that her leg might be broken, according to the summary. The other report alleged dad’s girlfriend, Jacqulyn Kirkpatrick, hit Olivia.

An agent observed Olivia that day and didn’t see any signs of abuse. The person who alleged abuse recanted her story, and the case was closed.

Then on June 22, the Kansas Protection Report Center received information alleging caregiver substance abuse. The case was designated as a Family in Need of Assessment, which allows seven work days to respond to.

A call was set up with Kirkpatrick and Olivia eight days later on June 30, and the 3-year-old appeared excited about the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.

RELATED LINK |‘The system is broken’: Dozens protest outside DCF office in KCK after death of Olivia Jansen 

The agency asked Olivia’s father to take a drug test. He tested positive for THC on July 7. The case remains open, and there are no findings as a result.

Olivia’s step-grandmother, Elisabeth Jansen, said she was the person who called the Kansas Protection Report Center on June 22. She was concerned about verbal abuse, her step-son’s temper and Jansen and Kirkpatrick’s alleged drug use. 

She’s dismayed at how DCF handled her report.

“A video? Isn’t that kind of a warning?” Jansen asked. “I mean, if I’m saying that I think my grandchild is, that I’m scared for my grandchild, you’re going to video call and that’s all?” she said.

RELATED LINK | Court papers: Olivia Jansen had bruising all over body when she was found in Kansas City, Kansas 

FOX4 asked DCF Secretary Laura Howard if someone from her agency actually physically laid eyes on Olivia in person after that video call. 

“No,” Howard said. “The video conference call was the proxi that we used because the child was reported to be out of state. And our worker really insisted in having a video contact because she felt like it was very important to be able to see Olivia and be able to talk to her as we reported in the summary.” 

Howard said the June 22 report was assessed through her agency’s screening process and determined to be a Family in Need of Assessment, which is not an emergency like a child abuse allegation. 

“It’s a process of up to 30 days of gathering information and learning things about the family, its strengths and weaknesses and what might help provide safety for the child,” Howard said. 

Olivia didn’t make it through the investigation process. Police say she was killed 18 days after her grandmother called DCF for help. 

FOX4 has requested Olivia Jansen’s complete file. Howard said the legal process of releasing that started Friday but may take a while to complete.

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