The birth mother of a baby boy in the center of a Department of Children and Families investigation is planning to sue the state agency. The state’s Office of the Child Advocate said the child nearly died after DCF put him in foster care.
On Tuesday, the OCA released a 62-page investigative report that states they found a lack of appropriate and lawful practices by DCF in the case of the little boy who nearly died of starvation in November 2015.
"He's definitely been through so much and it’s very heartbreaking for what he's going through and being forced to go through alone," said 24-year-old Kirsten Fauquet, the mother of the 2-year-old NBC Connecticut is identifying as “Baby D.”
Baby D was placed with relatives as a foster family after being removed from his mother in June 2015. Five months later, a doctor found the child had broken bones and he was ‘significantly emaciated.’
Fauquet and the Office of the Child Advocate are trying to understand how DCF employees, who visited the child several times, did not notice the child was suffering.
“I’m worried about what the permanent damages might be,” Fauquet said.
According to the Office of the Child Advocate's investigation, case records repeatedly document that Baby D was sleeping during home visits by DCF and a DCF worker stated she did not “interact” with the child "because that is not part of her job.”
“That’s their job title," Fauquet said. "To (p)reserve families, to protect children -- at least that’s what (Commissioner Joette) Katz keeps saying, but yet none of that is happening.”
The OCA said even though the foster parents' preliminary background revealed a prior history of both child and protective service concerns and criminal conduct, the child was placed in the home anyway.
The OCA said by law, DCF should have prohibited the placement of that child there.
“Many of them, including managers in that DCF region, did not know what the law was and had a lot of mistakes and assumption about what was permitted and what wasn’t and how that comes to be? That’s a systemic concern,” State Child Advocate, Sarah Eagan said.
"You’re going to go place an innocent child who cannot stand for himself with these people? And just because they’re relatives does not mean it’s not your job to watch," she said.
Fauquet said she is now worried about the permanent damage to her son. She said he has developed seizures and must be on a strict diet, which wasn't the case when he lived with her.
Commissioner Katz released a statement Tuesday, which said in part: "The Department is taking all possible steps to ensure that the problems identified have been addressed, and we will continue to evaluate and adjust these actions to achieve our goal of safely maintaining children in care with kin whenever possible. In addition, the work with this family was transferred to other offices."
Three DCF employees have been suspended without pay and a fourth has retired.
Fauquet said she has written to Commissioner Katz, a bondsman and Gov. Dannel Malloy for help, but she has not heard back from any of them.
Baby D along with his four other siblings, were taken into custody by the Department of Children and Families in June 2015
Fauquet said the children were taken away from her when she was not feeling well.
"Because I wasn't feeling so well, you know, they claimed there was food on the floor, but really I just fed my kids lunch. They were dirty because they just ate lunch so I didn't get time to clean up yet," she said.
Fauquet said, thanks to Baby D's family who has been supportive of him during this time, he has made it this far, but he has a long journey of healing ahead of him. Fauquet said he is now going into his sixth foster home.