Two-year-old Tina Marie Bampton returned home Friday for the first time since her parents were accused of scalding her and bringing her to the hospital in a plastic garbage bag after she was born at home.
Officials of the Erie County Social Services Department turned the child over to her parents, Carl and Marie Bampton, at about 1:30 p.m., subject to periodic inspections of their Buffalo home over the next year by county child protection workers.
Tina, who has been in foster care since her release from Sisters Hospital about two months after her March 1987 birth, was returned home under a court order issued March 15 by a Family Court judge who ruled that she could return to her parents by August.
"They (the Bamptons) have done everything the court required them to do, and the caseworkers felt it was appropriate," said Fred A. Buscaglia, a counsel for the Social Services Department who along with their attorney, Terrence M. Connors, confirmed the custody transfer.
Buscaglia said county child protection workers who have been monitoring the child and the Bamptons' court-ordered parental counseling decided they would get the child sooner than expected because of the progress the couple had made.
Although the Bamptons now have full custody of their only child, county child protection workers will make a series of announced and unannounced visits to their home, Buscaglia said.
If problems are found during those visits, the Bamptons could be cited on new child welfare complaints, he said.
Connors said child protection workers didn't agree to the custody transfer until they "poked and probed in depth" into the couple's life.
"It's a great day for them and their family, and I'm glad we played a part in it," Connors said.
The Bamptons were indicted in May 1987 on felony assault and reckless endangerment charges stemming from the circumstances of their daughter's March 21, 1987 birth.
After a non-jury trial last summer, Judge Michael L. D'Amico cleared Bampton, 31, of the felony counts and convicted him of misdemeanor assault and reckless endangerment charges. Mrs. Bampton, 26, pleaded guilty to the same misdemeanor charges Nov. 28.
On Jan. 17, D'Amico placed the Bamptons on probation for three years and ordered them to perform 500 hours of community-service work each in a hospital emergency room and with handicapped children.