Change the name of the family, the town where it took place, and the name of the hospital, and you have the story. It is the “foster care nightmare.”
The latest victim of this familiar tryranny of errors by child protective services is 2-year-old Jayden Clark, and the backdrop this time around is Southern Ohio, where the Des Moines Register reports:
Back in January, during a visit with their children, the parents noticed a dark bruise on Jayden’s forehead near his left eye.
They asked the DHS foster family about the bruise and were told Jayden had been roughhousing with his siblings. The Clarks were skeptical. They took a picture of the bruise and alerted their DHS social worker, Travis Clark said.
On successive visits, the Clarks noticed more bruises on Jayden’s back, belly, head and arms. They took more pictures. They complained to DHS.
“They never investigated,” April Clark said. “We tried to tell them something was going on with Jayden, but they wouldn’t listen.”
“At the hospital, doctors discovered head trauma and blood clots in the toddler’s brain. Doctors also found two lacerations on Jayden’s liver,” the report explains, and their findings were consistent with “typical battered child syndrome.”
“He’s not the same little boy he was before this happened,” April Clark said.
Jayden, his parents say, received permanent brain damage from the incident and likely will have learning and motor skill difficulties for the rest of his life.
Compare this foster care nightmare to that endured by the Dodge family in Colorado.
“Last month, 2-year-old Timothy Dodge Jr. and his baby sister Serenity were taken from their parents’ Adams County apartment and placed in foster care for their safety,” the Denver Post reports.
“Now police are investigating whether Timothy was physically abused and badly hurt in state custody. In a foster home supervised by a private agency with a long history of regulatory trouble, he suffered a severe head injury that left a blood clot on his young brain,” the report explains.
“The parents also say child protection workers falsely accused them of using methamphetamine before taking their kids, and ignored complaints from them that their children were abused in foster care.”
“He’s never going to have a regular childhood now,” said the toddler’s father, Timothy Dodge Sr. “It’s going to be years and years till we can actually tell what kind of damage has been caused.”
Just one more disconcerting fact to report before I close out the Dodge family’s foster care nightmare. The Denver Post reported that: “Timothy is also the fourth Adams County child in five years who has died or nearly died in a foster home supervised by a private child-placement agency.”
From the San Joaquin Valley, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that: “A 4-month-old infant’s casket was lowered into the ground by his grieving parents, who said they believe something could have been done to prevent their son’s death in a foster home.”
“Silvia Calzada, Eduardo’s mother, said she saw signs of abuse on her infant son and on her toddler daughter while they were in foster care, but no one acted on her warnings,” the report explains.
“Whoever had seen my child with bruises on his head and face would have noticed he was being abused,” she said in Spanish while standing next to Jorge Luis Garcia, the child’s father.
Garcia reportedly broke down in sobs as he helped to lower the small white casket into the ground.
Such was the nature of the Calzada family’s foster care nightmare.
We travel now to Post Falls, Idaho, where XKLY News reports on the recent death of Karina Moore.
Her mother, Samantha Moore, reportedly thinks about her every day. “Not a day goes by Moore doesn’t think about her little girl and her beautiful smile. Even though it’s been a year since Karina’s death, time has not healed her broken heart,” the report explains.
“When Karina, her brother and infant sister were placed in foster care, Moore said she suspected abuse and reported those suspicions to her case worker with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.”
Medical records from Kootenai Medical Center “indicate the state noticed a change in her behavior a month prior to her death.”
What happened thereafter – or rather what didn’t happen – should come as no surprise. The agency failed to investigate. And, why bother? After all, Karina was in foster care – where children are protected from the alleged deficiencies of their parents.
As of January, 2010, Karina’s case was “still an open investigation.”