Filipinos react over kababayan sentenced in child abuse case in AZ

By Fleur Magbanua-Mansur, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Dec. 10, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ – Last month, 56-year old Filipina, Alma Holland, was sentenced to ten years supervised probation after pleading guilty to two counts of child abuse, for failing to report her husband’s alleged sexual abuse of seven children they fostered from 2006 to 2011.
Kababayans from Holland’s neighborhood have mixed reactions upon the news of her sentencing.

Mary Ann And Jhone Cabungcal, foster parents to children with special needs for eleven years now, said they cannot believe Holland did not do anything, even if she witnessed her husband, Steve, abusing one of the victims.

“These kids are already abused and abandoned that’s why they’re in the system. Placing them in our home, it’s our responsibility and obligation to protect them,” Mary Ann said.

“We live in this kind of world where you have to report everything that happens,” Jhone added.

The Cabungcals said they make sure to comply with federal and state rules for foster parenting and to self-report, even in cases of suspected abuse.

“You need to call child protective services. You need to tell them what happened, what the child said. Then they will start their investigation,” Mary Ann stated.

Shirley Soden, school administrator at Cactus Wren, trains care givers and managers in foster homes. She advised care providers to report any form of abuse to authorities immediately, whether witnessed or not.

“You just don’t ignore it. You have to make sure you address it accordingly. Even if you are not doing the abuse, you can still be responsible for the abuse. That is your legal and ethical responsibility,” Soden pointed out.

Soden added that if one fears filing the report to adult of child protective service, a call can be made anonymously.

She cited, “You don’t have to say your name. If it’s a family member or if it’s a close friend, you don’t have to say your name. You just have to call it in and you can let them know what’s going on.”

Meantime, Angelita del Mar, a longtime friend of Holland’s, said, she’s saddened by the news of her sentencing.

“I can’t believe this happened to her. I feel bad for her because she is such a nice person,” she said.

In an effort to further protect the welfare of Arizona’s children, Governor Jan Brewer recently created an independent team, to look into more than 6,000 child abuse and neglect reports that were not investigated.

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  • Kikay Pang0
    10 December 2013 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    We all knew fostering a child collects money from the State or Fed govt. If there ‘s easy cash involve … usually fraud goes with it and who likes doing scams activity ? Filipinos