Another Child Beaten To Death In A Foster Home
February 06, 2007 01:41 PM EST (Updated: February 09, 2007 05:35 AM EST)
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Two-year-old Isaac Lethbridge died on August 16, 2006 because child welfare caseworkers took him from his parents and placed him in an unsafe foster home environment. He had been beaten and burned while in state custody foster “care”. His fosterer, Charlsie Adams-Rogers, 59, is on trial for manslaughter.
According to a Detroit Free Press article, Adams-Rogers “had a history of complaints alleging mistreatment of children in her home. Though Child Protective Services never substantiated any of the nine complaints, people familiar with the child welfare system say the allegations should have raised red flags about what was going on in the brick home on Greenlawn in northwest Detroit.” But Adams-Rogers may not have been the one who inflicted the fatal blows. Her twelve-year-old daughter, one of three children Adams-Rogers adopted from foster care, stands accused of inflicting the final injury. There were at least seven children in the home at the time of Isaac’s death.
A news report stated that before his death, Isaac’s child welfare caseworker was aware of bruises on the child, inflicted while he was in custody, but did nothing to move the child from his dangerous foster home or protect him from further injury. His sister, who had been placed in the same home, also bore the signs of injuries at the time of her younger brother’s death.
I’d like to say this is a unique situation, but tragically, it is not. Hundreds of children have died violently in foster homes, many at the hands of the adults paid to take care of them. As owner of a large family rights website, FightCPS, I’ve kept an ongoing blog documenting cases like this one since 2001. Caseworkers often don’t remove children from abusive foster homes because there’s no financial motivation for the agency to do so. They remove children from their natural family homes much more readily because as soon as they do, federal financial streams are available to enrich the counties that detain children.
In Isaac’s case, his parents are accused of neglect due to poverty. They are not accused of abuse. He could have been better served by allowing the parents to learn to take appropriate care of their child while keeping custody of him. But now it is too late; he’s dead due to our country’s child welfare laws that destroy and harm nearly every family they affect.
According to an article in the Isaac Lethbridge file, he is the third child to die violently in a Michigan foster home within the last 18 months. Ricky Holland, age 7, was adopted out of foster care then killed by his adopters in July 2005. Allison Newman, age 2, died from blunt-force trauma injuries of unknown origin in September 2006. Apparently someone suggested she was “accidentally flung over a 12-foot balcony onto a hardwood floor.” Who, I ask, “accidentally” throws a 2-year-old over a balcony? Allison’s licensed foster ‘mother’ is jailed, charged with felony murder and involuntary manslaughter.
These children are the tip of the iceberg. An online memorial, In Memory of Children Protected to Death by CPS, posts dozens of names and photos of children who died in state custody foster homes in nearly every state of this nation. And these are only the ones that site owner can find names and photos for. Many more children have died in foster homes without coming to the public’s attention.