Renee Maese, grandmother of deceased foster child Serenity Gandara, has decided what she can best do to honor her granddaughter’s memory is to fight against the abusive CPS and foster care system in California. Each year, dozens of children die in California foster care homes from child abuse. Serenity was one of these children. Her foster parents, Albert and Carla Garcia, are more than a month later still missing and wanted by police for murder and child endangerment.
Maese explains that the 3 year old girl’s death on July 18, 2010, has motivated her to work to change the system to protect children and families:
I will be the first to admit, if it wasn’t for Serenity dying, I probably would be doing my everyday life things, but now I’m advocating for Serenity. Deceased children no longer have a voice, but being her Grandmother, I will speak for her and fight for her justice.
The medical examiner has reported that Bakersfield foster child Serenity Gandara, a 3-year-old girl living in the home of relatives, was found dead on the living room floor of the home. Blunt-force trauma injuries are the cause of death. The foster parents, Albert and Carla Garcia, are being sought by the government for murder and felony abandonment.
Grandmothers Maria Garcia and Renee Maese both state that other relatives wanted to care for Serenity and her abandoned brother Isaiah. Isaiah is still alive, but was found with injuries appearing to demonstrate a pattern of ongoing physical child abuse. Kern County CPS refused to place the kids with other relatives, preferring to leave them with Albert and Carla Garcia despite child abuse complaints by Maria Garcia.
After Maria Garcia complained to the CPS social worker that they ignored her reports, CPS took away another child in her care apparently as retaliation. The child was returned after local media started asking questions. It is common for CPS agencies in the United States to use children as pawns to punish those who question their actions.
In Bakersfield, California, family members allege that the dead 3-year-old girl Serenity Julia Gandara and her still-alive 4-year-old brother Isaiah were suspected child abuse victims prior to Serenity’s death.
Their 1-year-old sister Juliana wasn’t in the home as she has been staying with other relatives. But CPS showed up to take her away from her aunt and uncle for several hours before they returned her. CPS would not reveal why they took the child. The maternal grandmother, Maria Garcia, suggested that the CPS taking of the 1-year-old baby was in retaliation for her reporting to the media that she had previously complained about child abuse regarding Serenity and Isaiah yet CPS did nothing to protect the children.
Grandmother of murdered foster child said CPS wrongly took sibling
Meantime, there are serious accusations against Child Protective Services. Serenity’s maternal grandmother, Maria Garcia, said CPS retaliated against her after she criticized a social worker for allegedly ignoring reports that Serenity and her brother, 4-year-old Isaiah, were being abused at their foster home.
“You needed to take care of thing when I told you what happened with my kids the other kids. You never listen to me,” Maria Garcia said she told the social worker.
The paternal grandmother, Renee Maese, said that other family members wanted to adopt the two kids, but CPS sided with foster parents Albert and Carla Garcia who are now wanted for murder and felony child abandonment and are believed to be in hiding in Mexico.