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DSS says it will review foster placement policies

Last updated: February 21. 2014 4:53PM - 805 Views
By - agonzalez@civitasmedia.com



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Minors already victims of a sexual abuse case in Wilkes County are now allegedly victims in a second sexual abuse case, which reportedly occurred in a Yadkin County home where the children were placed by social workers.


The woman charged in the case, Tammy Renee Galyean, was previously found guilty in two separate child abuse cases in Surry County and ordered not to be left along with kids. Despite the conviction, Wilkes County Department of Social Services officials placed the children in her home.


Two weeks ago Randy Jay Galyean was charged with rape and Tammy Renee Galyean was charged with felony child abuse by the Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office involved the two children. Since then details of the case have emerged showing Wilkes County Department of Social Services officials removed the four kids from the home of a father who was sexually molesting two of the girls, and placed them into a home subjecting the kids to more alleged sexual abuse.


Two of the children contracted a sexually transmitted disease as a result of the alleged abuse, according to a warrant for arrest for Tammy Galyean.


“They snatched my kids away from me,” said the children’s biological mother, Virginia Wagoner of North Wilkesboro, Monday in describing the circumstances that resulted in Wilkes DSS removing the four children from her home.


In 2012, Troy Wagoner, Virginia’s husband, self-reported to Wilkes County DSS that he was having urges of sexual acts against his own kids. The admission led to a police investigation and charges.


Court records show that Troy and Virginia Wagoner did not appear in court for a Termination of Parental Rights hearing. The couple no longer have parental rights to the children.


Last week, Troy Wagoner was sentenced in a Wilkes County courtroom after pleading guilty to indecent liberty with child. There, Wagoner learned from Wilkes Assistant District Attorney Kisa Parker Posey that his children had allegedly been victims of more abuse by his family friend.


In addition, the children’s mother and relatives reported that Wilkes DSS was aware of a prior conviction of child abuse by Tammy Galyean when the children were placed with the Galyeans.


Court records in Surry County show Tammy Renee Combs, who later married Galyean, was charged with child abuse in 1994 and 1996. A plea deal to the felony charges resulted in Tammy losing parental rights to her children and being prohibited from being alone with kids. Tammy served probation for her offense.


It was not immediately clear if the Wilkes DSS performed a background check. Officials with that agency refused comment, citing privacy regulations.


Melvin Royal, an uncle of the four children, said that his girlfriend, Candy Cardwell, and the Galyeans had conferenced at Wilkes County DSS, where Tammy’s prior child abuse conviction allegedly was discussed with social workers Tameka Hayes and Heather Holbrook.


“Heather said that the conviction would be no problem because it happened so long ago,” said Candy Cardwell.


DSS Director William Bastian, speaking in general terms and not about this case, said that DSS guidelines allow for a “safety placement” of children initially removed from a home often relying on parents recommending alternative living arrangements, even if the parents are suspected of child abuse.


According to Sebastian, the safety placement option triggers DSS to complete an investigation on the caretakers including spouses of caretakers who were previously convicted of child abuse.


Placing the children in a home of someone convicted of child abuse is permitted, according to Sebastian.


“It would depend on the severity of what had happened,” he said. “All things being equal, if we had a judge who said that they (caretaker) couldn’t be around children, no, the child would not be placed there. If the judge said that the person is not to be left alone with children…that would mean that if the other party in a married couple were suitable and they signed a statement that they would not leave the child alone with this person, that could work out.”


Sebastian said that when safety placements are made in other counties, DSS officials rely on each other to ensure that policy is adhered to and that the best interests of the victim are being represented. Other county DSS offices step in and conduct home visits and basic criminal background checks.


“Sometimes there are challenges,” said Sebastian. “The difficult part is determining if the other county has provided services.”


Sebastian indicated that he will investigate the protocols relating to the department placement and background checks.


Randy Galyean sits in Yadkin County Jail on a $700,000 bond, according to a pre-trial officer. Tammy Renee Galyean was unable to post a $50,000 bond and awaits trial in the Ashe County Jail.


The children remain in DSS custody.


Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.


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