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Foster Death Leaves Questions

January 5, 2015 permalink

The first death in care for 2015 is ten-year-old Xavier Brothers-Bartholomew in Cleveland Ohio. He suffered a cardiac arrest two years after removal from his parents following the death of his brother Isaac. Both Isaac and Xavier were born with a genetic disorder that causes physical and mental impairments. Xavier's parents and grandmother pleaded guilty to child endangering and are in prison.

Like many foster stories, this one leaves lots of unanswered questions. Were the parents falsely accused or truly neglectful? If so, why did Xavier die the same way as his brother? What about the foster parents? Karen Balconi Ghezzi of the Erie County Department of Job and Family Services said Xavier had been living with foster parents trained to care for the boy's medical needs. In the case of Samamtha Martin, specialized foster care turned out to be neglectful care at a premium price.

With Xavier, the list of children dying under state protection has reached 1,848 names.



Brother of Malnourished NE Ohio Toddler Dies in Foster Care

The 10-year-old brother of a toddler whose death was attributed to malnourishment has died while in a Cleveland foster home.

Authorities say Xavier Brothers-Bartholomew was found in full cardiac arrest Sunday and was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later. The cause and circumstances surrounding his death are being investigated by the Cuyahoga County medical examiner and Cleveland police, which is normal procedure when a child dies.

Xavier and his five siblings became the focus of attention in November 2012 when their 18-month-old brother, Isaac, was found dead in his crib in the family's home in Vermilion, west of Cleveland. Authorities ruled that Isaac had died of malnourishment and that his siblings had been neglected by their parents, James Brothers and Adrienne Bartholomew, and their grandmother and paid caregiver, Deborah Nelson.

The parents and grandmother pleaded guilty last year to child endangering charges and are in state prison.

Isaac, Xavier and three other siblings were born with a genetic disorder that causes physical and mental impairments. A lawsuit filed in November 2014 on behalf of Isaac's estate and the guardian for his siblings said the eldest child, a boy who is not disabled, often was left to care for the younger children. The lawsuit was filed against the parents and grandmother, officials in Erie County whose agencies were responsible for overseeing the children's well-being and doctors who had treated the children.

The attorney who filed the lawsuit said the disabled children had begun to thrive in foster care and had doubled their weight.

The director of the Erie County Department of Job and Family Services issued a statement Monday that said there was no indication that the boy's death "involved any concerns of abuse or neglect."

The statement from Karen Balconi Ghezzi said Xavier, since November 2012, had been living with foster parents trained to care for the boy's medical needs. Social workers and medical professionals made weekly visits to the home, the statement said.

The statement called Xavier's death "a very sad case."

Source: ABC News/WEWS-TV Cleveland

Addendum: In another list, that of children who died without a name, the first of the year is a twelve-year-old girl in Milwaukee who died of influenza.



12-year-old Milwaukee girl dies from influenza

Milwaukee -

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has confirmed a child in the City of Milwaukee died from complications related to influenza. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office tells CBS 58 the deceased is a 12-year-old girl who was admitted to Children's Hospital on Christmas Day, and died on New Year's Day. The medical examiner's office has confirmed the child was a part of Milwaukee's foster care system.

The City of Milwaukee Health Department says this is the first child death involving the flu for the 2014-2015 flu season. "We are deeply saddened to learn that a child has died of complications related to the seasonal flu, and our thoughts remain with the child's family,” said Commissioner of Health Bevan K. Baker.

The health department reports an increase in flu-related hospitalizations in the City of Milwaukee. More than 360 flu hospitalizations have been reported in the city with the majority of them involving people over the age of 50.

State Health Officer Karen McKeown said, "Seasonal influenza is not life-threatening for most people; however, this is a serious disease that can be especially dangerous for children, older adults, individuals with compromised immune systems and those with chronic health issues."

McKeown says the public to get flu shots to help reduce the severity of flu symptoms among the population who catch the flu.

Flu deaths in Wisconsin are only reportable if they involve patients under the age of 18.

Source: WDJT Milwaukee