Officials: Baby dies in state care, investigation underway

Oregon child welfare officials have confirmed that a 4-month-old infant died in the state’s custody Sunday.

Posted: Feb 13, 2020 11:23 AM
Updated: Feb 13, 2020 11:49 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. (The Oregonian/OregonLive) — Oregon child welfare officials have confirmed that a 4-month-old infant died in the state’s custody Sunday.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the Department of Human Services disclosed the baby’s death Tuesday, under a 2019 transparency law that requires state leaders to tell the public when a child on their radar dies by possible abuse or neglect.

The agency did not provide specific information about the baby’s death, such as how or where the baby died. The agency said police are investigating the circumstances.

Department of Human Services spokesman Jake Sunderland says case workers are still collecting information. He said although DHS was the baby’s legal guardian, the baby was not in general foster care.

DHS is now required to report such deaths in a timely manner on its website under the Critical Incident Review Team (CIRT) status report.

"The CIRT is focused on identifying whether any systemic issues contributed to the fatality and if so, how they can be addressed and corrected to minimize and prevent future fatalities," DHS says on its website. "When a critical incident is reviewed, the team seeks to understand the circumstances surrounding the death of the child, as well as the history of the family, the community and the child welfare and other family-serving systems."

A final CIRT report issued last year revealed that child welfare officials were aware of domestic violence concerns with the family of 2-year-old Medford boy Aiden Salcido, but the case was eventually closed — with officials unaware that his parents had already taken the boy and fled town. Law enforcement later discovered Aiden's parents dead in a murder-suicide, followed by the discovery of Aiden's body at a campsite in Montana.

Associated Press and The Oregonian/OregonLive contributed to this report.

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