No Oversight Of Severely Mentally Ill

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(Memphis) A mother is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing her two young children to death.

The children were just 6 and almost 2 years old.

We've learned the mother, Jamina Briggs, may have been schizophrenic.

Just like everyone else, social worker Judy Bookman is horrified by what happened.

“It’s obviously horrific," she said.

She says what Briggs is accused of points to mental illness.

Briggs, who family members say had schizophrenia, has had run-ins with authorities for allegedly assaulting her mother and stabbing at her ex-boyfriend.

“The safeguards are few and far between in a sense,” said Bookman.

While the Department of Children Services knew about two of Briggs's children, they say they didn't know about her youngest one.

Bookman says there is no government oversight over the severely mentally ill, and that it’s really up to neighbors and family to look out for children of mentally ill parents.

Many children are raised by people who suffer from mental illness, and they aren't necessarily bad parents.

“I think it depends whether they are taking care of their mental illness,” said Bookman.

Bookman says friends and neighbors just need to keep a watch on them, especially if they have children.

“One the best things we can do as a society is provide people with a support network because it does take a village to raise a child," she said.

If you, or someone you know needs help, Bookman recommends that you call the LINC Hotline at 211 to find out about resources in our area.

If you believe a child may be in danger, you should immediately contact the Department of Children’s Services.