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Local Spotlight: The Hart family murders and the flawed child welfare system

Jeremiah, Devonte and Ciera, who were removed from the custody of their birth mother, Sherry Davis, and placed for adoption by Texas’ Child Protective Services.
Jeremiah, Devonte and Ciera, who were removed from the custody of their birth mother, Sherry Davis, and placed for adoption by Texas’ Child Protective Services.

In March 2018, Jennifer and Sarah Hart drove their six adopted children over a California cliff, killing the entire family.

In the wake of the tragedy, much of the news coverage focused on the parents and the decade they spent running from child abuse accusations.

Now, journalist Roxanna Asgarian is out with a new book called “We Were Once A Family: Love, Death, and Child Removal in America.” It centers on the lives of the Hart children before they were adopted and highlights the flaws in this country’s child welfare system that ultimately led to their deaths.

How are the foster care and child welfare systems failing to meet children’s needs?

This is a part of our series called “Local Spotlight,” where we’ll cover local stories that deserve national attention. Have a suggestion about what we should feature? You know where to find us.

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Lauren Hamilton