Health

Biological Dad Angry Son Nearly Drowned At Foster Home

| by Zara Zhi
Riley CrawfordRiley Crawford

The biological father of an orphaned 16-month-old boy is furious that his son, Riley Crawford, nearly drowned under the care of foster parents.

When Riley's mother lost custody of him in March 2015, he was placed in foster care. The child was staying at a foster home in Caldwell, Texas, when his father, James Crawford, received a phone call from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) saying his son was discovered face down in a pond on April 12.

"The EMS people told me he was submerged in water for 10 minutes. It took them 17 minutes to find his pulse again," James said, according to KXXV.

Riley was rushed from the foster home in Caldwell to McLane Children's Hospital in Temple, where he’s been recovering in the ICU since April 12. He’s currently on a machine to assist his breathing.

"There's still fluid in his lungs," James explained. "There's swelling of the brain. They said even if his oxygen levels leveled out and his lungs cleared up, he could still possibly die of the brain swelling."

James says he doesn't understand how the foster parents could have lost track of his son.

"He escaped out of y'all's backyard and went 50 yards to a pond. That sounds like you didn't check in on him like you were supposed to," he said.

A DFPS spokesperson says the foster home, which has been caring for children since January 2015, has a history of similar incidents.

In December 2015, the foster parents were under a "minimum standards investigation" after the boy's half-sister tripped and hurt herself. DFPS' Residential Child Care Licensing could not find any wrongdoing in their examination of the home.

James says he didn’t ever expect this to happen.

"They said they were a licensed place. It was supposed to be a safe place...a good place for him," he said. "I would hate for this to happen to somebody else."

A deputy from the Burleson County Sheriff's Department says it doesn't plan on pursuing any charges at this time, according to KXXV.

The DFPS' Residential Child Care Licensing and Office of Child Safety will carry on investigating the incident.

In August 2014, it was reported by KWTX that two Waco, Texas, foster children had died while swimming at Lake Georgetown. The DFPS report says the foster parents “left the children at risk of harm or death by drowning by not providing adequate supervision while the children were in a body of water.”

Sources: KXXV, KWTX / Photo credit: James Crawford via KXXV

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