WELLINGTON, Kansas – As outlined in state documents KSN requested through the Kansas Open Records Act, KSN News learned that the Blansett family had a history at the Kansas Department for Children and Families, or DCF.
In fact, child welfare officials had investigated the family just days before the death of 10-year-old Caleb Blansett.
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According to DCF case history, the Blansett family was first brought to the state’s attention on June 21, 2012. A report was filed involving allegations of neglect. Records show that DCF responded by completing background checks on Lindsey Blansett and the children.
On June 22, 2012, a day after the initial report was received, the case was staff with a supervisor and closed.
Neighbors tell KSN that the children were inseparable.
“They did everything together. He was never alone. She was always beside him,” said a neighbor, who wished not to be identified.
Not even two years after the initial report was filed with DCF, the agency, again, became aware of concerns involving the Blansett family.
In 2014 alone, DCF received a number of reports.
On May 1, 2014, DCF received a report of neglect. At 9:30 a.m. the following day, May 2, a state worker reportedly went to the child’s school, but the child was not there.
Later that day, DCF went to the Blansett home. However, the child was in Wichita. Regarding which of the two Blansett children this report was filed for, who the child was with in Wichita, and why that child was in Wichita and not with his or her mother at the time, KSN has not yet learned. DCF did not release this information in our KORA request.
DCF reportedly conducted interviews with everyone involved.
At that point, Lindsey Blansett was offered some help from DCF state services, but according to the report, she said she did not want it.
Experts we spoke with said that department services can oftentimes be of assistance to a family, no matter their circumstances.
“If you feel so full of rage that you think you might harm your own child, then yes, please, get some help,” said Dr. Molly Allen, a child psychologist.
KSN was told that these services can vary widely depending on a family’s individual circumstances and the challenges they could be facing at their time of need. Such services can include parenting classes, behavioral health assistance, or help finding housing and/or food resources.
Only three days after Lindsey Blansett declined services, on May 5, DCF lists an “unsubstantiated medical neglect” notation on the case file. KSN is still working to learn the details around this alleged neglect report.
In the agency’s final dealings with the Blansett family, less than a week before Caleb Blansett’s death, DCF assigned a “non-abuse/neglect” report. It did not involve any allegations against Caleb’s mother, Lindsey, but the records did not indicate who or what allegations it did involve.
Regardless, DCF found that the case warranted further investigation. The agency responded by assigning the intake.
Lastly, DCF responded Tuesday to the physical abuse/child death case for 10-year-old Caleb. We are told DCF is responding by reviewing this case.
“As with any child death, we are deeply saddened by this news. We are carefully reviewing this incident and our history with this family… Our hearts go out to anyone affected by this unthinkable tragedy.”
— Phyllis Gilmore, Secretary of DCF, as released in a statement.
Lindsey Blansett, 33, is charged with first degree murder and is being held on $500,000 bond. Her next court appearance is Thursday.
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call the Kansas Protection Report Center at 1(800)922-5330.
For instructions from the Kansas Department for Children and Families concerning how to report abuse or neglect, click here.
To learn more information about prevention and protection services, click here.