Lawmakers Call For Probe Into Ma’Khia Bryant’s Time In Foster Care

Three members of Congress penned a letter asking the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families to investigate Ma’Khia Bryant’s time in foster care. “Ma’Khia should be alived today,” the letter signed by Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon. The letter is dated May 28. 

Ma’Khia was killed April 20 in Columbus, Ohio after being shot four times by police officer Nicholas Reardon. Police were called to the 16-year-old’s foster home following reports of a disturbance. Angela Moore, Ma’Khia’s foster mother, was not home at the time but said an argument over housekeeping led to the dispute, CNN reported

“When a child dies in foster care, the system has failed. It failed Ma’Khia Bryant, who lived in her foster family home for about two months before a police officer shot and killed her in front of that home on April 20, 2021,” the lawmakers said in the letter written on behalf of Ma’Khia’s birth parents, Paula Bryant and Myron Hammonds.

Michelle Martin, an attorney representing Ma’Khia’s family said that the entire foster system should be investigated in light of the teen’s death. “The whole world has placed Ma’Khia on trial based on this one incident where they see her swinging a knife, but why aren’t we looking further and figuring out who were those girls? How did they get there? How did this develop so quickly?” Martin told The Associated Press in April. “What trauma was not being addressed within the home? I mean so many questions that have to be answered.” 

According to The AP, police made at least 13 reports from the foster home where Ma’Khia lived since 2017, including a 15-year-old who told a 911 dispatcher she wanted to move to a different home. The findings highlight the outlet’s previous report, days before Ma'Khia was killed, about the disproportionate impact the foster care system has on Black children and youth. Not only are Black kids put into foster care at higher rates, the system, the report found, is riddled with racial inequity that fuels negative experiences for Black children in particular. 

“The foster care system in Ohio failed Ma’Khia on a number of levels,” Dot Erickson-Anderson, administrator for the Ohio Family Care Association told The AP. “It’s a system that has been struggling for a long time with our image of what a family is.” 

Photos: Getty Images

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