The father of an El Dorado girl killed by child abuse is making some serious claims against the state.
Two-year-old Jayla Haag died in March of 2012, and now her father blames the Kansas Department of Children and Families for not protecting her.
Jayla’s mother, Alyssa Haag, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter last year – part of a plea deal to reduce the charge of first-degree murder. But Jayla’s father is suing the state, saying it knew Jayla was being abused and did nothing.
“Alyssa failed Jayla in the worst way possible,” said Jayla’s great aunt Stacy Lewis. “She has robbed my family as well as her own the joys of watching a beautiful girl grow up.”
Now Jayla’s biological father, Steven Watters, claims not only did Alyssa fail to protect their daughter, but so did DCF.
In a lawsuit filed last month, Watters claims DCF was informed that Jayla was being abused and did nothing to protect her. Court documents allege the state took child support payments from Watters, which allowed Alyssa Haag to continue her meth habit and the abuse of their daughter. It goes on to say a DCF social worker knew that Jayla was living in a meth house.
And while DCF won’t comment on the case because of pending litigation, Brian Dempsey, who is the director of prevention and protective services, says his department does everything it can to protect children.
“If those risk factors could be controlled, it's possible that a child could remain in the home,” he said.
Doctors say Jayla suffered bleeding on the brain, multiple bruises and was missing teeth. The lawsuit claims she tested positive for amphetamines and methamphetamine just days before her death.
Jayla’s family, including her father, declined comment.