Valery Heads To New Home – QNS.com

Valery Heads To New Home

Valery Saavedra, the four-year-old whose mother, Monica Lozada-Rivadineira, 26, was allegedly killed by jilted boyfriend Cesar Ascarrunz, has found a home — albeit a temporary one.
Custody of the little girl who captured the hearts of Queens residents has been granted to her mother’s cousins, Mauricio and Renee Escalera of West Babylon, Long Island.
According to Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) officials, Valery is familiar with the couple, who had baby-sat for her in the past.
And people who know the Escaleras agree that their home is the best place for the little girl to recover from her two-week ordeal.
“There is no better family for Valery,” said Anna Kartelo, a former landlord of the Escaleras. “They [the couple] have love and compassion — things that are important for a child. She’ll be in good hands.”
Kartelo went on to tell The Queens Courier that Valery will have three maternal figures in her new home — Renee, a physical therapist, her mother Arlene, and her aunt.
Kartelo also said that she feels that the Escaleras will allow for liberal visitation rights for other family members.
The child had been a ward of ACS since the tragedy and had been placed in the care of a foster family by officials at Little Flower Child Services in Jamaica.
Stressing the need to establish a sense of normalcy in Valery’s life and of safeguarding the child’s mental welfare, Herbert Stupp, CEO of Little Flowers, said, “We are pleased with the role we have been able to play [in this case].”
Last week, Valery was reunited with her maternal grandmother, Roxana Rivadineira, for the first time since being abandoned barefoot on a street in Middle Village on September 25.
Rivadineira, who arrived from her native Bolivia nearly two weeks ago, and Valery’s paternal grandmother, Ana Maria Saavedra, have both relinquished the fight for legal guardianship of Valery, in lieu of the much younger couple, who are in their early 30s.
Others too, have staked a claim to the child.
Saavedra’s niece, Iris Carolina, who lives in Chicago, has also applied for custody, according to Saavedra’s goddaughter, Marina Bernal, who also indicated that a distant relative of Valery’s mother wants custody.
These may be considered at a later date.
According to reports, Valery’s natural father, who retains parental rights, is in a Bolivian prison on a marijuana conviction. He agrees with the current custody decision and is not planning to pursue a claim of his own.
The Queens Courier will update its readers as to permanent custody of Valery once future hearings are announced.

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