County orders new policy in wake of child’s beating death

Shondraya Dickson
Shondraya Dickson

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Lancaster County’s Board of Commissioners has directed the county’s Children and Youth Agency to establish a new policy for notifying police of abuse allegations when the child cannot be found.

The move follows the killing of 2-year-old Ja’Zirah Rodgers, a Lancaster girl allegedly beaten to death by her mother, 23-year-old Shondraya Dickson.

According to charging documents in the case, Ja’Zirah’s father told police he saw Dickson beat their daughter with an extension cord and slap her face until her nose and mouth were bleeding.

The father claims Dickson threw him out of her North Plum Street apartment when he tried to intervene. When he returned later that night, he said Dickson told him the girl was with Children and Youth Services.

The father says when he called Children and Youth on Jan. 8, the agency did not have the girl. The child protection agency investigated for two weeks before it reported the girl missing to Lancaster police on Jan. 22.

Dickson was arrested the following day and told investigators that she abused the girl until she stopped breathing, wrapped her body in a deflated air mattress, and placed her in the trash in early January, the charging documents state.

The child’s body has not been found.

In a statement, the Board of Commissioners said it is calling for a written policy which establishes when Children and Youth should seek police involvement, particularly in cases where a child abuse victim has not been seen by the agency within a defined time period.

The public will be informed once the new protocol is set, the commissioners said.


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