Children's services worker killed

Children's Services Worker Killed
News article in the Las Vegas Sun




This news article was previously published in the Las Vegas Sun on October 17, 2001. It is no longer on the Las Vegas Sun web site.






COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A caseworker who asked for assignments in the city's toughest neighborhoods was stabbed to death as she interviewed a couple whose seven children had been taken away.

The father was charged with murder in Tuesday's slaying of Nancy Fitzgivens, who had spent 10 years earning her 1999 social work degree while working full time.

"Her job was so important to her because she, too, was abused as a child," said Fitzgivens' husband, Clovis Dawson. "As a caseworker she wanted to be on the front line fighting for the children."

Fitzgivens, 53, had worked for Franklin County Children Services for two years. Her husband said she knew the danger but logged long hours trying to stop family abuse.

"She would always look for the good in someone," he said. "She would try to get abusers to get counseling so they could be reunited with their children."

On Tuesday, Fitzgivens went to the home of Gregory Pack, 38, and his common-law wife, Rosie Newkirk. Police said Fitzgivens was left alone with Pack, and when his wife returned a short time later, she discovered Fitzgivens' body.

Police found Pack at a mental health center and arrested him. He was charged with aggravated murder. Pack's children had been put in a foster home. According to court records, the children allegedly were neglected because of the couple's drug abuse. A court file also said Pack suffers from manic-depression and refused to stay on his medication.

Dawson said his wife often talked about the seven children in the home but never said she feared going there. "She carried a picture of one of the children - a cute little girl standing with her arms crossed - in her purse," he said.

John Saros, director of the children's agency, said safety practices will be reviewed. Under a policy that was in place even before the slaying, caseworkers can ask for someone to accompany them or request that a family come to the office for interviews.

"We have always been aware that our workers are routinely threatened in writing, over the phone and face to face," Saros said. "Whenever you are dealing with this level of family life you have the potential for danger."

"Nancy Fitzgivens is a community hero," said John Saros, director of Franklin County Children Services. "She was a very dedicated worker who was passionate about protecting children and helping families."

Dawson hopes his wife's death will lead to a greater appreciation of the job caseworkers do throughout the country.

"I hope people will support the good work that children services caseworkers across the country are doing," he said. "They, like Nancy, break the cycle of abuse and stop future generations of violence and abuse."



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