A new lawsuit accuses the Oregon Department of Human Services of failing
to supervise a situation in which two foster children were allegedly starved.
In the complaint, the foster parents’ alleged negligence caused
the children (4 and 5 years old) to weigh the same now as they did when
they were 1 and 2.
When they arrived at the hospital, the boy, 4, weighed just 27 lbs. This
is the average weight for a 2-year-old. The girl, 5, weighed just 30 lbs.,
the average weight for a girl between 2 ½ and 3 years old. The
boy had allegedly gained just 14 ounces in his 2 ½ years with the
foster parents. According to state investigations, one caseworker states
that the girl looked short for her age, but that her appearance “raised
no concerns.” They also noted that the boy was average in weight
and height; although, the boy’s weight wasn’t listed on growth
charts for his age.
The case alleges that the foster parents are facing felony assault and
criminal mistreatment charges. The DHS is also accused of not taking action
despite caseworkers having face-to-face interactions with the two children.
Reports show that a caseworker had visited the children within a month
prior to the visit to Randall Children’s Hospital, where doctors
determined that the two kids were suffering from extreme starvation.
Attorney Jane Paulson at Paulson Coletti is representing the two children along with Erin Olson.
The children were able to gain weight quickly during their eight-day hospital
stay. The children also have developmental troubles as a result of their
condition. The girl has trouble with motor skills, cognitive delays, and
post-traumatic stress. The boy experiences the same, as well as vision
and speech problems.
This case opens the door for the Oregon Department of Human Services to
make changes to the way they monitor families and living situations. They
must know when to take appropriate action to protect the children they
place in foster homes and this case is a good example of that. Our Portland
attorneys at Paulson Coletti are determined to see that the standards
of care are upheld.