DSS talks about concerns stemming from shooting death of Durham 7-year-old

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – The mother of the 7-year-old boy who was shot to death last weekend was still able to have custody of her son after being involved in several shooting incidents herself.

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Kamari Munerlyn, 7, was shot and killed Sunday while in an SUV with his mother, Felecia Parker.

“She’s been shot at plenty of times before,” said Theo Munerlyn, Kamari’s dad. “And has been shot herself over the man that she’s with.”

Police confirmed her vehicle was damaged by gunfire in April.

And in January 2016, she was shot.

During a conversation with the Jovetta Whitfield, assistant director of the Department of Social Services, she explained why social workers didn’t intervene.

“Our goal is to ensure children are safe and protected from abuse and neglect,” said Whitfield.

The department said the shootings did not fall into either category.

Instead, incidents like those would be handed by police, not social workers.

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“There’s the criminal aspect, so there’s the criminal definition of safety,” said Whitfield. “Then there’s the definition of a child’s well-being. We’re looking at more of the child’s well-being needs, and is the parent meeting the child’s well-being needs.”

Whitfield points out that all parents raise their children differently, and by law, every incident doesn’t call for DSS to get involved.

“Parents make poor decisions because parents aren’t perfect,” said Whitfield. “So, the department doesn’t necessarily always get involved when a parent makes a poor decision, because a poor decision doesn’t always equal abuse and neglect.”

CBS North Carolina reached out police and asked if there were any reports from officers or investigators that they were concerned about the safety of Parker’s child following either or both of the shooting incidents.

CBS North Carolina has not heard back yet.

If you would like to make a report concerns of child abuse or neglect to DSS, call the department’s hotline at 919-560-8424.

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