Abandoned girl will remain in Delaware foster care
Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
The 20 month old girl who was abandoned in a Newark, Delaware gas station bathroom just over a week ago will remain in her Delaware foster home for now while her father faces murder charges in New Jersey in the death of her mother.
A family court judge in New Castle County decided Wednesday that Delaware's Division of Family Services will continue its emergency jurisdiction status to oversee the care of Hanna Belizaire Jackson. She will continue to live with the foster family that took her in the evening she was abandoned.
Delaware Division of Family Services spokesman Joe Smack says some of Hanna's relatives have come forward and expressed interest in taking care of the toddler. It will be up to them to petition the courts to get that process underway.
"We're still trying to determine and identify relatives in New Jersey and other places that could care for Hanna," Smack said. "Really that would be the best of all alternatives is that she would return to a family member, somebody she had a shared history with or has bonded with. That would be the ultimate goal for us."
Hanna Jackson's father, 25 year old Dwayne Jackson of Edison, N.J. faces murder charges in the death of 25 year old Patricia Belizaire of North Brunswick.
North Brunswick Police accused Jackson of killing Belizaire in New Jersey, and then driving her body to Ramapo, New York and allegedly setting her body on fire.
Jackson is being held on $2 million bail.
In the meantime, Smack says Hanna is in a family where she's playing with two other children around her age, has a good appetite, and is generally bonding and adjusting quite well. Smack says Hanna's foster family is well respected and has experience fostering children.
The next family court hearing will be April 16 to determine whether Hannah will continue living with her foster care family, or if there will be a new custody arrangement.