The aunt of a 4-year-old boy hospitalized after allegedly being tortured and beaten by his foster mother said Monday that the boy’s extended family is struggling to get more information on what happened, is barred from visiting the boy and plans to sue Los Angeles County.
The boy’s aunt, Maria Jacinto, spoke out during a news conference Monday morning, standing alongside lawyer Michael Adler.
“They don’t deserve this at all. No kid deserves this, in any care, under anybody’s care,” Jacinto said. “We’re just asking for justice … and information.”
Jacinto seemed to be referencing both the hospitalized boy, whose name has not been released, and his 2-year-old brother, who is also reportedly in foster care.
Adler alleged the boy’s injuries were caused by his foster family.
“We have no evidence that … he was with anyone other than this foster family, and there’s clear evidence that he was tortured and beaten into a coma,” Adler told reporters.
“Like every parent, you’re just horrified beyond belief. You don’t understand, one, how it happened, two, why someone would do this.”
The boy’s extended family, identified by KTLA as the Francisco family, told the station that they were notified by someone other than the Department of Children and Family Services that the boy was hospitalized on Oct. 28 or 29.
Telling KTLA they called the news conference in the hopes of getting justice for the boy and more information about what happened, the family reportedly plans to ask for an investigation.
The Department of Children and Family Services responded to a request for basic details by saying that confidentiality protects children and families and prohibits the release of information. The department also defended the process of choosing foster families.
“Licensure of resource families involves rigorously examining the suitability of potential families to identify safe, nurturing and supportive homes for children in foster care,” the statement read.
“DCFS thoroughly investigates allegations of caretaker abuse and neglect and, when appropriate, works closely with law enforcement to ensure children remain safe and that substantiated allegations are swiftly addressed in a court of law.
“State law protects the confidentiality of records for all children and families who may have come to the attention of child protective services, and prohibits confirming or commenting on whether a child or family has been involved with the department. These laws are in place to protect the confidentiality of children, siblings and their families,” the statement concluded.
KTLA did not release the name of the foster family and the District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for information on any related arrest.