State suspends foster agency following child's death

Print
Email
|

by Andy Pierrotti / KVUE.com

KVUE.com

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 10:58 AM

AUSTIN -- On Thursday, the Department of Families and Protective Services announced plans to stop putting foster children with one of the largest child placement agencies in Texas. The action came after an investigation into the death of Orion Hamilton, a foster child in Cedar Park.

In a letter to Lutheran Social Services, DFPS said it will stop placing foster children into its homes until further notice. The suspension came after the state's investigation into the death of one-year-old Orion Hamilton. Police arrested Jacob Salas involving her death. Investigators said Salas pinned the girl's head to the floor with his knee, fracturing her skull.

According to DFPS investigation, Lutheran Social Services did not perform a background check on Salas, who had a history of drug abuse and domestic violence.

Last month, the KVUE Defenders uncovered the state cited Lutheran Social Services 62 times since 2009 for not conducting background checks of people living with state foster children. This is the second Austin-area child-placing agency to have its license suspended in the past few months.

"Our number one priority is the safety of our children, and we remain confident of the quality of all of our programs. We respect the state's rights and responsibilities in this area, and we will cooperate fully with DFPS,” wrote CEO of Lutheran Social Services, Dr. Kurt Senske, in an email to the KVUE Defenders.

CPS isn't off the hook. Last week, the Office of the Inspector General launched investigation into its involvement into the girl's death.

Print
Email
|