OMAHA, Neb. – An Omaha toddler seen cursing and being encouraged to curse in a video posted online would be placed with his teenager mother under a recommendation child welfare officials made Monday.
The 2-year-old boy and his 17-year-old mom were among four children placed in foster care last week because of concerns about the home where the video was shot. The family's situation gained widespread attention last week after the Omaha Police Officers Association posted a copy of the video on its website, saying it wanted to show what officers encounter in their work.
The police union drew criticism from people who said there were better ways to do that without subjecting a child to ridicule.
A subsequent police investigation led to the removal of the children because of concerns about the children's safety. The toddler and three other people were wounded in a drive-by shooting at the family's previous home in October. The Nebraska Families Collaborative worker who asked for the removal said the 17-year-old's mother had been in jail since Dec. 17 on weapons charges and known gang members were allowed in the home regularly.
When she was arrested, the girl's mother left her 19-year-old daughter in charge of the children in the home.
The 17-year-old denies involvement in the video of adults teaching her son to use racial slurs and obscenities and has said that she's a good mother. In the video, the boy responds to the off-camera adults with several of his own profanities and an outstretched middle finger.
Social workers have been working with the family since last June when concerns were raised about the children being outside without proper adult supervision. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services helped the family move twice to find a safer place to live.
Court documents say social workers are concerned about the persistent pattern of gang activity in the family's lifestyle. Several family members have criminal records. The 17-year-old girl's biological father is in prison, and the 2-year-old boy's biological father is dead.
While the court reviews the situation, none of the children will be moved from their current placements in foster care. Another hearing is set for Jan. 29.