TULSA, Okla. – An Oklahoma family is still reeling after a young boy died one year after he was placed in foster care, and they are calling for changes to be made to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
In 2013, Lois Richie says she found out that her great-nephew, 3-year-old Andrew Prior, and his siblings were being placed in foster care.
Richie and her sister, Connie Hubbard, say they attempted to get custody of the children, but to no avail.
“DHS wouldn’t even talk to us,” Richie said.
“I was in Missouri calling to come to get them and was turned down,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard says she was shocked by the rejection, especially since she was already a certified foster parent in Missouri.
“Fingerprints had been done, home inspections had been done, everything was completed,” she told KJRH.
She says a caseworker told her that the children would be going to a good foster home and had already bonded with their counselor.
Less than a year later, Andrew was rushed to a hospital with a brain bleed and head trauma. He died a few days later.
His relatives say they were never notified about any problems in the foster home, and didn’t even know Andrew had died.
“It makes me feel very upset and angry,” Lois Richie said. “I don’t think DHS done these kids justice. I feel like if they would have let somebody in the family had the kids then, by all means, Andrew would still be alive.”
Andrew’s foster mother was charged with his death, but the charges were ultimately dropped last year.