Foster parents accused of cuffing child to porch

Wanda Sue Larson and Dorian Lee Harper were charged with intentional child abuse inflicting injury, false imprisonment, and cruelty to animals after a deputy found a shivering 11-year-old boy handcuffed to a porch with a dead chicken hanging from his neck.

Union County, N.C. Sheriff's Office/AP
Wanda Sue Larson, (l.) a North Carolina social worker, and Dorian Lee Harper were arrested Nov. 15, after a foster child was found cuffed by the ankle to Larson's front porch in Monroe, N.C., with a dead chicken hanging from around his neck.

The Union County sheriff's office says it appears an 11-year-old boy found handcuffed to a porch by the ankle with a dead chicken around his neck was routinely handcuffed in the home.

Sheriff's Capt. Cody Luke also told The Charlotte Observer yesterday that human waste was found on the home's floor. “The smell would take your breath,” Cathey told the local paper.

Wanda Sue Larson and Dorian Lee Harper were arrested Friday after a deputy found the shivering 11-year-old boy handcuffed to a porch. Larson is a supervisor with Union County Department of Social Services. The couple adopted four children and was the foster parents to the 11-year-old child.

The 57-year-old couple is charged with intentional child abuse inflicting injury, false imprisonment, and cruelty to animals. They are to be in court Monday. It was not clear if they have lawyers yet.

The children, ranging in age from 8 to 14, have been removed from the home and have been placed with a social services agency outside Union County since Larson worked with the local department of social services..

Sheriff Eddie Cathey said he's trying to determine how long the abuse had been occurring at the home.

Sheriff Cathey called the incident shocking. Harper and Larson are charged with intentional child abuse inflicting serious injury, false imprisonment, and cruelty to animals.

The children, ages 8 to 14, have been removed from the home.

Neighbors told The Charlotte Observer that the young boy had previously approached them requesting food.

The news raises concerns about child safety within the foster care system. Social service workers place children in foster homes in hopes that parents can provide a safer environment than the child's biological parents. However a 2011 paper from the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform cites numerous studies that found high rates of abuse among children living in foster care.

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