The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) have confirmed that 2 little girls under 24 months old and in foster care were removed from the home via an ambulance – one child has died and the other is still being hospitalized.

District Attorney Joseph Early spoke to the press about the circumstances: "The girl in the hospital was in critical condition in the intensive care unit. The other four children have been removed from the home by the state Department of Children and Families."

Early said that "an autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause and manner of death, and toxicology testing is also being conducted."

The names of the children are being withheld until the biological parents are notified by the DCF.

The reportedly 30-something foster mother was described by neighbors as having "6 children living with her in the state-subsidized duplex apartment, three of them hers and three of them foster children."

Jim Bishop, a neighbor, said that he could not imagine how this woman had "6 kids in one of these little tiny places"; referencing the size of the apartments.

Bishop said this complex was "low-income housing" and rhetorically asked: "Why would you put foster children in here?"

In a statement the DCF said they were "working with law enforcement and medical personnel to determine the cause of death of the [foster] child who died" and confirmed that both children involved in the unknown incident were at the residence for foster care.

The foster mother reportedly went to Randa Borglund, a neighbor a few doors down, who had heard the woman screaming: "My babies are unresponsive."

Borglund recalled that the girls who were taken to the hospital were "limp" when she rushed to help the mother.


 

As the facts in the case come to light, whether or not negligence played a role will be revealed; however, reports of children being subjected to abuse while in foster care give this story more attention.

Roland Zullo, researcher into foster care privatization at the University of Michigan, said that "financial incentives of the industry" are the cause behind abuses and deaths of children in foster care.

Zullo said: "This is just the kind of service where the market approach doesn't work."

Earlier this year, a class-action lawsuit on behalf of 10 children was filed in a US District Court which alleges that those children, who are currently in the Arizona foster care, have been subject to abuse at the hands of neglectful state officials.

The ages of the children in question range from 3 to 14.

The suit states that specific members of the directors of the state departments of Health Services and Child Safety:

• Neglects its duty to provide adequate health care for children in state custody.
• Has a severe shortage of foster homes.
• Fails to promptly investigate reports of neglect and abuse involving children in foster care.
• Hampers efforts to maintain family relationships by separating siblings in foster care and not providing required parental visits.

Petitioners revealed that "the state is aware of these conditions," using statistical data produced by the state to prove their point.

These allegations point to "a policy, pattern, custom and/or practice that shocks the conscience, is outside the exercise of any professional judgment, and amounts to deliberate indifference to the constitutionally-protected rights and liberty and privacy interests" of the children attached to the suit and all 17,000 children in Arizona state foster care.

Back in March, Heather Adams, a 24 year old foster mother, was charged with 1st degree murder after 2 foster boys (one 7 months old) died at her residence.

Adams had the boys for 5 months before their deaths. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) placed the children with Adams after allegations that their mother had physically abused the younger of the boys.

Andrea Lowell, the mother of the boys, was not told for 4 days that her children were dead.

Adams told the police she had hit Bryson, the elder boy, "with a closed fist." The child was found in the home, unresponsive.

Lowell said: "They gave my child to somebody who killed him. He's gone, all because the state said that she was suitable…and she's not."

Two years ago in Los Angeles, Kiana Barker, a foster mother, was convicted of 2nd degree murder for the death of Viola Vanclief, a 2 year old girl in her care.

Barker beat Vanclief to death with a belt, and waited until the next day, when the child was found not breathing, to call 911.

However, investigators and autopsy reports showed that Barker had hit the child with a hammer while she lay on bed until she died. Authorities said Vanclief died from blunt force trauma to her upper side which caused severe internal bleeding in her chest area.

That same year in New Mexico, foster parents beat a boy in their charge so badly that he suffered permanent brain damage and blindness.

Although the parents of the child sued the foster parents and the New Mexico Department of Children, Youth and Families, a grand jury refused to indict both the department and the foster parents for any crimes.

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