Friday, October 14, 2011

Foster children killed in car crash, not wearing seatbelts

Austyn Ackinson, 11; Tony Mitchell, 4; Tayla Mitchell, 10; Andy Dawson, 13; and Jeremy Franks, 17 were children in the home of Howard Mitchell in Kit Carson, Colorado. Three were foster children. Two were legal orphans that were adopted by Mitchell.
Now, they are dead. The Denver Post reports:
Howard Mitchell loaded 12 children into his van Thursday morning, preparing for the drive he made twice each weekday — three times during football season — from Kit Carson to the children's school in Eads.
Mitchell and five children, ranging in age from 4 to 17, were killed when the 15-passenger van he was driving slammed into the back of a semitrailer truck on U.S. 287 about 2 miles south of Kit Carson.
According to the article, the children were not wearing seat belts or in car seats. The father, who was the driver, was a sheriff's deputy. 

There is no mention in the article about the loss suffered by the parents of the killed children. Like they don't even count? Like they were bad parents and they deserved to lose their children?

As in any state, it is state law that children are in car seats or seat belts. But many parents across the country complain that the caseworker transports their children without putting the little ones in car seats and without buckling up the older ones. It enrages them that their children are removed for a dirty house, but that the state employees and service providers can place their children in danger by transporting them without restraining them. 

It makes one wonder why the state employees and service providers are not held to the same standard of care as the parents are.

This is not the first time that foster children have been killed during transport and not have been restrained. It is a common practice in child welfare agencies nationwide. 

This family was licensed to have eleven children, well above the number usually permitted to foster caregivers. One can conclude that this status was an indicator that they were excellent care givers, better than most parents and caregivers.

If this is an example of the best of foster caregivers in Colorado, we should be concerned. These caregivers evidently didn't care about other people's children enough to insure their safety in the car. 

There is no excuse for a sheriff's deputy transporting anyone's children without proper restraints. There is no excuse for a foster caregiver transporting children without proper restraints. 

There is no excuse. 

More news stories.

1 comment:

  1. Colorado State Patrol Child Passenger Safety Week site states, "“We want to help parents best protect children when traveling in a motor vehicle,” said Corporal Eric Wynn, Colorado State Patrol. “During Child Passenger Safety Week, we urge all parents and caregivers to have car seats checked by a certified technician to make sure it is installed correctly. We also want to emphasize how important it is to keep children in each restraint type for as long as possible before moving them to the next one. When it comes to the safety of a child, there is no room for error.”
    From 2006–2010, 64 child passengers, ages 0–12 died in traffic crashes in Colorado. Of those fatalities, 20 were children ages 4-7. Over half (55%) were improperly restrained, totally unrestrained or using only the vehicle seat belt (which does not provide adequate protection). Children ages 4–7 who use booster seats are 45% less likely to be injured in a crash compared with children who are restrained only by seat belts. Many of these tragedies can be prevented if the children are in the right restraint for their age and size."


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