In Florida, the Lauder Lakes mother and father of an infant girl that died after the state removed her from their home are suing the Florida Department of Children & Families, the nonprofit agencies in charge of managing foster care in Miami-Dade County and Broward County, and His House Inc., the owner of the Florida-licensed group home Landmark Shelter for her wrongful death. Madison Ariel Coley was just 4-weeks-old when the state took her and two of her brothers from her parents in February 2007 for what they said was their own protection following allegations of medical neglect and physical endangerment because a firearm was put in a place that was easily accessible for the older children.
Nine days later, Madison was found dead in a crib at Landmark Shelter. She was on her stomach and a blanket was covering part of her face. Authorities say that five hours had passed since anyone had come to check on her and when someone finally did she wasn’t breathing. Florida officials say her cause of death was accidental suffocation.
Her parents, Jossalyn Crawford and Michael Coley, are alleging that workers at the Florida shelter should have known better than to leave an infant loosely wrapped in a blanket. Their wrongful death lawsuit, filed in Broward Circuit Court, seeks unspecified damages.
A probe by th DCF found no evidence of wrongdoing or negligence on the part of shelter workers and the department has called Madison’s death a tragic accident. However, the DCF also doesn’t think anything could have been done to prevent the fatal accident
Crawford says she has had several nervous breakdowns since her daughter's death.
According to ChildDeathReview.org, suffocation-related child fatalities occur when a young child or baby is put in a position where he or she can't breathe.
Common causes of child suffocation accidents:
• Positional Asphyxia
• Overlay: accidentally rolling onto or over a child
• Covering over a child’s chest or face
• Choking accidents
• Confining a child in an airtight space
Lauderdale Lakes parents suing DCF over daughter's death at group home, Sun-Sentinel, February 18, 2009
Suffocation Fact Sheet, ChildDeathReview.org
Related Web Resources:
Florida Department of Children & Families