republican debate

Grandmother faults CPS for not protecting baby who overdosed

  • A Washington child died in May of a suspected fentanyl overdose
  • Child's grandmother says state knew the child's mother was using drugs
  • Kids have become increasingly endangered by proliferation of fentanyl

(NewsNation) — The grandmother of a Washington child who died of a suspected fentanyl overdose wants to see her own daughter charged and faults the state’s child welfare system for not doing enough to protect the 1-year-old.

Danette Scott says she tried, to no avail, to get the state to remove Avril from the care of her mother, who was using fentanyl. Avril died in May from a suspected drug overdose, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, KING-TV reported.

“It just baffles my mind that they’re not doing more. CPS just ignored it. They knew all about it, and they just ignored it and left her with the mom,” Scott said Wednesday on “CUOMO.”

Avril was among the growing number of children who are dying of fentanyl overdoes, especially in Washington. A total of 56 children who had recent contact with the state’s Child Protective Services died or nearly died of an overdose last year.

Of those, 23 children were younger than 4, according to the Seattle Times, citing a report from the Washington State Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds.

Patrick Dowd, director of the Washington State Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds, pointed to an effort to keep families together when possible rather than, “frankly, in some cases, needlessly removing children from parents’ care.”

In Scott’s eyes, the policy ended up costing Avril her life.

She says she called Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families last December after she saw her daughter smoking fentanyl around Avril. The case was closed in March, just two months before Avril’s death, which state officials acknowledging that Avril’s mother was addicted to fentanyl, KING-TV reported. 

“They knew she was using and they just left her with it, and they say that they cannot take a child unless they’re in immediate danger,” Scott said. “Fentanyl is an immediate danger.”

The nation’s children have become increasingly endangered by the proliferation of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is often trafficking into the country by Mexican drug cartels.

In Portland, Oregon, at least nine children have overdosed on fentanyl since June. In the Bronx, a 1-year-old boy died last month after being exposed to fentanyl in a day care that was being used a drug trafficking operation.

Scott wants to see her daughter prosecuted for creating a dangerous living environment.

“She needs to be held accountable for this,” Scott said. “I think it’s probably the only thing that will help her.”

Moving forward, Scott wants people to “get angry” about the opioid epidemic in America and advocate for change.

“Everybody just keep ignoring this problem, and it is going to be right on your doorstep, guaranteed,” she said. “This has just exploded … and nobody’s doing anything about it? That makes no sense.”

NewsNation’s Nichole Berlie and Katie Smith contributed to this report.


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