The family of Evan Brewer is speaking out after learning that a DCF report about abuse, months before the child’s death, was not handled correctly and altered after his death.
Friday, the Department for Children and Families released more that 280 pages of documents to KSN. This came one day after releasing them to Carlo Brewer, Evan’s dad.
The documents detail how DCF responded to allegations of abuse and neglect more than a year before Evan’s body was found encased in a concrete structure. Saturday, the Brewer family and their lawyer spoke with KSN about a closed-door meeting they had with DCF this week.
“I did appreciate the fact that they were courageous enough to initiate the contact and personal conference,” said lawyer, Shayla Johnston.
However, Johnston says thoughts and prayers are no longer needed. She says Carlo Brewer, Evan’s dad, wants change in the department.
“He was prevented from saving Evan’s life,” she explained. “DCF assisted in that prevention; they were part of the systematic block that was put on us, from saving Evan.”
Carlo Brewer made multiple calls to law enforcement and DCF, concerned for his son’s safety in the months before his body was found.
“We think DCF needs to be focused on helping parents keep their kids safe,” said Johnston. “There’s nothing more central to the purpose of that agency than putting families first and helping families keep kids safe and healthy. We don’t think DCF is doing that and the fact that they won’t give us [additional] records on Evan’s death, shows that they are missing the point. They are still protecting themselves rather than doing their job.”
The documents released to KSN have a number of names blacked out; these were the same redacted documents given to the family. The documents say a report was made to DCF on May 16, 2017, stating concern for the 3-year-old boy. The report lists a number of concerns including reference to the mother’s boyfriend choking Evan and having to do CPR to bring him back. It also says that the mother refused police welfare checks and did nothing to protect her son. This report was made in May but those details were not properly documented to a supervisor.
“Their own internal investigation revealed that information did not make it from intake to the DCF investigator and her supervisor,” explained Johnston.
The documents also state that there were changes made to the original report, after an internal review was ordered.
“At some point after Evan’s death – which I believe they said was September 5th – that the document or the form was altered to show that the supervisor and investigator were informed of this intake,” said Johnston, who plans to file a lawsuit in the case.
She believes that if this information would have been shared, it could have helped save Evan’s life.
“Somebody was covering up the fact that they knew Evan was about to die and did not follow through with a request for a warrant or procedures with police or missing exploited children unit,” explained Johnston.
Johnston says that DCF told Carlo Brewer, they want to learn from their mistakes and asked Carlo to come and speak to their employees about his experience.
“They acknowledged that and they want to work with Carlo and get his personal experiences and find out how he thinks this should be done and Carlo thought it was a positive meeting and that’s important,” said Johnston.
KSN reached out to DCF for comment and was sent the following statement Saturday evening:
“Given the family’s stated desire to move to litigation, we will not be in a position to further comment or clarify. We sincerely appreciate the family meeting with us, and as the Secretary vowed when she was appointed in December 2017, and during the conversation with this family, we will make needed changes.”
The Brewer family has started a GoFundMe page to help families that find themselves in similar situations.