Christine Van Alstyne White, biological mother of the 5-year-old boy killed in December in rural Albany County, admitted Thursday in Albany County Family Court that she neglected Kenneth White’s two sisters.
She also told Judge Gerard Maney she has been unable to find a permanent residence and has lived in unsanitary and unsafe homes for long stretches of time.
White will continue to have supervised visits with her children, but she must meet with a doctor who will determine if she has any untreated mental health or substance abuse problems. She must cooperate with any recommendation the doctor makes following the evaluation to retain visitation rights.
The girls, ages 5 and 4, have been in foster care since the Dec. 18 death of their brother.
Maney said White could regain her parental rights if she is able to provide a stable home for the girls. She currently lives with her sister, Brenda Van Alstyne, in the same Berne mobile home where her son was killed.
Brenda Van Alstyne, Kenneth’s aunt, had custody of the three children for roughly six months before the kindergartner was killed, allegedly by his cousin, Tiffany Van Alstyne.
Tiffany Van Alstyne is charged with second-degree murder and is being held without bail in the Albany County jail. Maney ruled last week Brenda Van Alstyne abused and neglected the children and will not be able to see the boy’s sisters for the foreseeable future.
Maney said Tiffany Van Alstyne possibly beat Kenneth’s 4-year-old sister with a bat while she lived in their 900-square-foot Thacher Park Road mobile home, and the girls were covered with bruises when they entered foster care in December. Tiffany Van Alstyne, Brenda’s daughter, was reportedly the primary caregiver for Kenneth and Christine.
Kenneth’s father, Jayson White, admitted Monday to neglecting the two girls, as well. He said he has a substance abuse problem and untreated mental health issues and told The Gazette he hopes to regain custody of the girls in the near future.
The children originally were taken from their parents by the Montgomery County Department of Social Services because of unsanitary living conditions in their Amsterdam home, Maney said last month. Amsterdam police confirmed White was charged with endangering the welfare of a child in 2010, but would release no details of the case or its resolution, saying it was closed.
A neglect petition was filed against Christine Van Alstyne White in January. The charges against her are civil, meaning she does not face jail time.
While leaving court Thursday, she declined to speak with reporters. She told The Gazette last week she, not her niece, murdered Kenneth, but Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said he suspected she was trying to deflect attention from Tiffany Van Alstyne but would follow up as part of the investigation.