7-year-old’s hanging death investigated in Florida

from: examiner.com

Sally McComb
April 17, 2009

Police are investigating the death of a 7-year-old child in foster care who reportedly hanged himself Thursday in the bathroom of a Florida home. Police spokesman Officer Vonley Williams said that when officers arrived, they found the boy unresponsive and were told the boy had hanged himself inside a bathroom. An autopsy is to be performed to determine exactly how the boy died.
Florida’s Department of Children and Families is reviewing the child's case history and the history of the foster family, DCF spokeswoman Leslie Mann said. ''Right now, due to the seriousness of this, we've got a number of reviews kicking in and meetings scheduled,'' she said.

Mann said that the boy had been upset over his lunch when he rushed into the room where he was later found. His foster dad is an assistant principal at a school for special needs students, and his foster mom is a nurse. He was initially placed into foster care after his aunt and uncle felt they didn't have the ability to handle his behavioral problems. A first set of foster parents concluded they couldn't provide the care he needed and he was moved to the last foster home about three weeks ago, where the foster dad is an assistant principal at a school for special needs students, and his foster mom is a nurse.

It might be hard to believe that a 7-year-old can have severe enough emotional issues that he would hang himself, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility. Many children in foster care have suffered severe neglect, while others have been physically, sexually or emotionally abused. The abuse suffered in their young lives frequently causes serious emotional and behavioral problems. Children who have never been in foster care or suffered abuse can also experience serious mental health issues. It’s heartbreaking that this young boy is dead, and undoubtedly his biological and foster families are devastated by this tragedy.

In Colorado, children and adolescents make up only one quarter of the state's population, but experience more than one-third of the severe mental health needs (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999, and Colorado Mental Health Funders Collaborative, 2003). In 2005, more than 21 percent of parents of children age 6 and under reported that they were concerned about their child's emotions, concentration, behavior, or ability to get along with others. Over half of the licensed early care and education providers surveyed in 2005 reported that challenging behaviors in young children are not getting better. And, at least 20 percent feel challenging behaviors are increasing in occurrence and severity. (Children with Challenging Behaviors: A Survey of Licensed Early Care and Education Settings in Colorado, 2006).

The Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health – Colorado Chapter can help if a child you know is experiencing mental health problems.

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Hard to believe? (Really?!)

I was stopped my the following summation:

It might be hard to believe that a 7-year-old can have severe enough emotional issues that he would hang himself, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility. Many children in foster care have suffered severe neglect, while others have been physically, sexually or emotionally abused. The abuse suffered in their young lives frequently causes serious emotional and behavioral problems. Children who have never been in foster care or suffered abuse can also experience serious mental health issues.

While many would like to believe every child placed in foster care has been brutally abused by birth parents, and consequently "depressed" or suffering from a severe mental disorder, (like Bipolar disorder or  ADHD), I think more and more people are beginning to see there are indeed very healthy children being wrongly removed from parents and other factors influencing a foster child's behavior.  For instance, there was Kerry, the 9 year old foster child who committed suicide two months after he was put on Welbutrin.  There was Candace Downing, the 12 year old who was found by her parents, hanging in her closet.  And let's not forget where foster care and mental health care got little six year old Cheyenne Delp and her "disruptive behavior". 

So, I'd really like to learn just how much drugs, biology, and parental influence had to do with this new shocking surprise of yet another child's suicide.  Was this little boy's death due to mental illness caused by parental abuse/neglect or is there something much more to this latest tragic story?

overmedication

Your were very right by asking if the boy was taking drugs.

He had been prescribed four psychiatric drugs, two or three of which he was taking at the time of his death.

Three of the psychotropic drugs carry U.S. Food and Drug Administration "black box" label warnings for children's safety, the strongest advisory the federal agency issues.

see: http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/31553

Pound Pup Legacy