Eight children between the ages of 1 and 15 years old have been removed from a Sandy, Ore., home after one of them, a foster child, was found in critical condition by emergency...
PORTLAND Eight children between the ages of 1 and 15 years old have been removed from a Sandy, Ore., home after one of them, a foster child, was found in critical condition by emergency workers.
The hospitalized girl, age 5, had hit her head on a coffee table and suffered a seizure, according to authorities. The 28-pound girl was also malnourished, they said. She was in critical condition yesterday at a Portland hospital.
Three other foster children, three biological children of the couple who live in the house and a Korean foreign-exchange student were transferred into state foster care after the emergency call.
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Gary McQueen, Sandy Fire District Chief, said he decided the 5-year-old needed to be hospitalized because of her overall appearance and weight. McQueen said someone that age should weigh 40 to 50 pounds.
“But when we looked at this little girl, she was beyond skinny. There appeared to be something causing it, but I’m not sure what medical condition would account for that,” he said.
The health of the other children in the home has not been disclosed.
Foster parents Thelma and William Beaver have not been charged with a crime.
An emergency call on Tuesday from their home in Sandy set life-saving efforts into motion for the 5-year-old.
Thelma Beaver told responders that the girl had fallen and hit her head on a coffee table the day before, said Joel Manly, spokesman for the Clackamas County Sheriff’s department.
The child was flown by life flight to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.
An investigation is underway by the sheriff’s department, the state Department of Human Services and the Sandy Fire District.
“Our role is to assess the needs of the kids and make sure the kids are safe as the investigation continues,” said Marge Reinhart, manager of Department of Human Services operations in Clackamas County.
Two protective service staff have been assigned to the case.
Reinhart said human-services caseworkers are required to see foster children at a minimum of every 30 days. She also said the certification process for foster homes includes extensive background checks and references.
Foster homes are permitted to have up to eight children at a time, she said.
About 5,500 children statewide are in foster care. The annual per-child state payment for foster families was reduced 7.5 percent in 2003, from $420 to $390 a month, after cuts to the Department of Human Services’ budget.
In October, Gov. Ted Kulongoski announced a new plan to improve the social-service agency’s response to child-welfare emergencies.
Under the plan, within 24 hours of such an incident, members of a critical-incident response team will be notified, and the situation will be assessed.