The Baltimore City Department of Social Services confirmed that it is conducting a “thorough, internal review” of its handling of Malachi Lawson, a 4-year-old boy found dead in a dumpster earlier this month.
Malachi’s mother and her spouse have been charged in his death.
In a letter sent to The Baltimore Sun on Friday afternoon, department Director Randi Walters wrote: “A thorough, internal review of Malachi’s involvement with our agency is underway, and we are partnering with law enforcement on their criminal investigation and any prosecutions.”
Walters sent the letter in response to a newspaper editorial calling on the city and state to share information about Malachi’s involvement in the social services system.
The letter was the first acknowledgement that social services officials are reviewing Malachi’s case.
The city agency and the state Department of Human Services have denied requests for information about Malachi, citing the criminal investigation.
Malachi was initially reported missing on Aug. 2, and his body was found the next day in a dumpster with burns from a scalding bath that had gone untreated for days, according to police.
Malachi’s mother, Alicia Lawson, and her spouse, Shatika Lawson, have been charged with numerous crimes, including involuntary manslaughter, child abuse, assault, reckless endangerment, tampering with evidence and giving false statements. They are being held without bail.
According to charging documents, Malachi was burned in a bath, but the women did not seek medical care for him “due to fear that the child would be taken from them, that they would get in trouble for what happened to the child and their past history with child protective services.”
Jill Jackson, who said she was a foster mother to Malachi, has questioned why the boy was returned to Alicia and Shatika Lawson.
“I wish [Child Protective Services] would have left him in my home,” said Jackson, who said she fostered Malachi for several months starting in 2016.