Huh? News: U.S.-born Children in State Foster Care Sent Overseas?

Alexandra Andrews writes “Oregon’s Monitoring of U.S. Foster Child in Mexico Missed Abuse”for ProPublica on March 16, 2009 1:26 pm EDT

“Oregon officials placed a 4-year-old American foster child with relatives in Mexico, where she enduring months of abuse and died, reports the Oregonian. Oregon still had legal responsibility for the girl, but according to the paper, “the state’s monitoring of her welfare was limited to occasional phone calls — mostly to her abusers — and unquestioning dependence on welfare workers in Mexico.” The girl’s caseworker “insists he saw no red flags that would have prompted him to bring [the girl] back from Mexico before she died.” The majority of U.S.-born children sent from state foster care to live in other countries go to Mexico, but “little has been done on either side of the border to ensure [their] safety,” reports the Oregonian.”

The Oregonian reports that “nobody can say exactly how many U.S.-born children have been sent from state foster care to live in other countries. There’s no reliable system to keep track of what happens to these children.”

Reporters for The Oregonian have apparently filed records requests and interviewed state officials about the case since August. On Tuesday, as their series was being prepared for publication, Oregon’s Department of Human Services announced a moratorium on sending foster children out of the country. State officials say they want to develop international agreements before more children are sent abroad.

Huh? Ought this not be the other way around?

The Oregonian reports that the State of Oregon has sent 13 children to Mexico for adoption since 1999; state officials expect the number to grow. Five children were in the pipeline for Mexico when the moratorium took effect.

Since 1999! Ten years ago – and just chatting about international agreements now?

I wonder if any U.S. state notifies the federal government when they do this? These American kids — they just fall through the cracks? A shameful shade of gray and no one’s at fault?