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Sugar Cookie

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The great-grandmother of a Palmdale boy who died under suspicious circumstances last week said Wednesday that she cared for the child for years between stints in foster care, and he had begged not to be returned to his parents.

Noah Cuatro, 4, was in his birth parents' care when he died last Saturday. The parents took him to a hospital after they say he drowned in a pool at their Palmdale apartment complex, but investigators say medical staff found trauma on the boy's body that was inconsistent with drowning.

The courts decided Noah should be returned to his parents at 9 months old, but he was again removed from their home about a year after that because of neglect and malnutrition, according to Hernandez.

Noah was then placed in foster care until a social worked called Hernandez and asked if she would take him back. She says he lived with her for more than two years in very stable conditions.

But the last November, the boy was again returned to his mother and father — despite his own protests, Hernandez said.

“I told the social workers, ‘Please, he doesn’t want to leave. He wants to stay here. He begged me,’ Hernandez told KTLA. “He would hold on to me and say, ‘Don’t send me back, grandma.’ I don’t know. I couldn’t do anything. I just had to send him back.”

After that, Noah's mother allegedly wouldn't let his great-grandmother see him until 3 months ago, when Hernandez says she saw the child for the last time.

“He was not the same little boy anymore," Hernandez said. "He looked so sad and withdrawn.”

Hernandez said she got the sense that Noah wanted to tell her something was wrong but was unable to.

“He didn’t have the chance. She was just looking at him, and he wouldn’t say anything,” Hernandez said of the mother. “He would say, ‘Grandma,’ then he would just shut down. I kept saying, ‘What’s wrong? Tell me baby,’ and he wouldn’t say it.”

Hernandez claims she got a tip from other relatives that Noah was being mistreated after she last saw the boy 3 months ago.

The great-grandmother says that prompted her to file a complaint with the county's Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), asking social workers to make an unannounced visit to the home. But when the agency called her back, they allegedly said they let the mother know they were coming and reported that everything was OK in the home.

“If they would have taken him out of there, he would still be here,” Hernandez said. She lamented that "the kids don't have a voice."

Investigators say three children were removed from the home after the 4-year-old's death and placed into protective custody.

According to relatives, Noah's siblings include an older brother who was also in an out of foster care, a 2-year-old sister and a 1-month-old baby boy.
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Danse Macabre Instructor
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Poor kid. He was in a safe stable environment with a relative who loved him, and the court insisted on returning him to abusive bio-units who killed him. Tragic.

We, as a society, need to get past the "nothing is more important than reunification with bio-parents" bullshit. That is not always the case, and too many kids die because of it.

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Little sport knew it was bad there.
He must have been so scared.

The system failed at keeping an at risk child safe.
Please stop putting children back in the situations that harmed them in the first place.
Lives are literally on the line.

Do Fucking Better!

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Sugar Cookie

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Los Angeles County caseworkers allowed 4-year-old Noah Cuatro to remain in his parents’ home despite a court order in May — weeks before the Palmdale boy died under what authorities say are suspicious circumstances, according to two sources who have reviewed court documents.

At the time of his death Saturday, Noah remained under active supervision by the county Department of Children and Family Services after at least 13 calls to the child abuse hotline and police from people who said they suspected that the children in the home were being abused, the sources said.

Noah's parents, Jose and Ursula, called 911 on Friday to say their son had drowned in a pool. Sheriff Alex Villanueva, however, told reporters the boy's body had signs of trauma that were not consistent with a drowning.

t's been almost two weeks since 4-year-old Noah Cuatro died under suspicious circumstances while in the care of his parents in Palmdale, but there are still many unanswered questions about what the boy dealt with during the time leading up to his death.

Attorney Brian Claypool spoke at a news conference on Tuesday, protesting what he described as a lack of transparency in Noah's case on the part of the Department of Children and Family Services and law enforcement.

Claypool said he wants to know why no one is being held responsible for the boy's death, which was reported to the Sheriff's Department by his parents on July 5 when they took him to a hospital and said he drowned at their apartment complex's pool.

"We already confirmed that is categorically false, he didn't drown. In fact, when the medical examiner's report comes out, it will show there wasn't a drop of water in that little boy's lungs," Claypool said. "His parents filed a false report. That's a crime, so why hasn't there been an arrest?"

Claypool wants to see a criminal indictment of the DCFS social workers and supervisors who ignored a court order, which indicated Noah was to be returned to his great-grandmother, Eva Hernandez, who cared for him for more than two years.

"His body was badly bruised – that tells us it's likely that somebody beat him up and that might have been the cause of the death. We had to find that out on our own," Claypool said. "If they had returned that little boy to Eva Hernandez, he would be alive today."

Claypool added that DCFS ignored several "red flags" in Noah's case, including phone calls made to the agency to report allegations of sexual abuse and malnourishment.
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