Foster Care Agency Terminated by L.A. County

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The foster care agency that allowed a 2 year old girl to be placed with a woman who is now under investigation for the child's death was terminated as a foster facility by Los Angeles County in a unanimous decision last week.

United care oversaw 88 homes and 216 foster children and had been repeatedly cited in recent years as allegations of abuse escalated from choking, hitting, and whipping with a belt. In 2007 a child drowned while swimming unsupervised in a pool.

United Care was responsible for certifying the foster parents and checking regularly on the home. United Care certified Kiana Barker despite her criminal history.

Barker and her boyfriend were arrested earlier in March on suspicion of murder. Their foster child, Viola had been killed while trapped underneath a bed. Barker told investigators that she accidentally struck the child with a hammer while trying to free her. There were multiple bruises on her body and the child's death was ruled a homicide.

Barker had been the subject of five child abuse complaints, including on substantiated case involving her biological child. United Care knew of Barker's criminal record but did not believe it was a problem because she was deemed by state regulators to not pose a danger.


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