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Foster Death in Record Time
July 10, 2006 permalink
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has established a dubious record — they removed a "fun loving and playful child" from mom and dad on Thursday. By Saturday the boy was dead. As usual, the killers claim they are prevented from discussing the case, presumably to protect the dead boy from emotional harm.
Boy's drowning raises questions about foster care
BOISE -- The biological family of a young drowning victim spoke out for the first time Monday.
According to Canyon County deputies, three-year-old Trenton Lewis was in the care of foster parents when he drowned in a backyard pool Saturday night.
Family attorney Scott Dowdy says deputies had just removed the boy and his siblings from their home Thursday night.
A hearing was held Monday afternoon to determine if the family's other three children could be returned to their mother and father's care.
At that hearing, the family spoke out for the first time, saying Trenton was a fun loving and playful child.
“They should never have been turned over to the state,” said Debbie Wiker, Trenton’s grandmother.
Dennis and Debbie Wiker say they are devastated over the loss of their grandson - three-year-old Trenton Lewis.
The boy drowned in a backyard pool Saturday night. According to sheriff's deputies, other children at the home found Trenton submerged and unconscious. Investigators say the boy was able to get past a gate and a ladder.
He and his sister were in foster care at that home at the time of the accident.
“They should have been placed with grandparents, aunts, uncles. Everybody wants these children, said Debbie Wiker.
The family was at the Ada County Courthouse Monday for a hearing on whether the Lewis' other three children should be returned to them. All four were removed from their biological parent's home late last week. And according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, that only happens if there is a safety concern.
“In most cases, we will place a child who has been removed with family whenever possible,” said Ross Mason, Health and Welfare spokesman.
Mason says the agency can't talk specifics about this case, and that isn't always possible. An investigation continues into the circumstances of the drowning and whether there was any negligence involved.
“The screening and the background checks for foster families are extremely rigid. So we will do an investigation that will be just about as rigid. Sometimes bad things happen. We can't assume that anything other than that happened, but certainly we will be looking into it thoroughly,” said Mason.
The custody hearing was closed to the public.
But according to family attorney Scott Dowdy, Trenton’s three siblings remain in foster care and their parents are working to get visitation with them.
Dowdy says he may pursue a negligence lawsuit against the state, but says there are still many unanswered questions about the circumstances of Trenton’s death.