Foster care,Adoption,Hillsborough County, Florida,Life support,Head injury,Child abuse,Respiratory failure,Cardiac arres

Within reach of adoption, toddler dies while in foster care

December 17, 2016

Aedyn Agminalis, shown here in an undated photo, died Dec. 11 while under the care of the state. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is conducting an investigation into the toddler's death. [Courtesy of Colleen Kochanek ] TAMPA — After about five months in foster care, and just weeks away from a new home with adoptive parents in North Carolina, little Aedyn Agminalis was rushed to the emergency room. The 17-month-old boy arrived at St. Joseph's Hospital for Children unresponsive and with signs of head injuries, according to information given to his adoption agency by a social worker. He suffered cardiac arrest, bleeding on the brain and acute respiratory failure. The small boy was hooked up to a life-support system but doctors could find no brain activity, according to Artha Healton, Aedyn's biological mother. The infant died Dec. 11 after doctors turned off the machine. His death is now the subject of a criminal investigation by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. The Florida Department of Children and Families has assigned a critical incident team to look into the death because the boy died on the state's watch. "The loss of this child is absolutely devastating and we're grieving with all those who loved him," DCF Secretary Mike Carroll told the Tampa Bay Times in an email. Officials would not comment on the investigation. Aedyn was living in a foster home licensed by the service A Door of Hope his case was handled by Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services. Both organizations are subcontractors of Eckerd Kids, a non-profit contracted to run the county's child welfare system. "We will be doing everything we can to support the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office investigation," said Adrienne Drew, a spokeswoman for Eckerd. Aedyn's death has raised questions about whether the child could have been moved out of foster care and adopted sooner. His biological parents signed papers consenting to the adoption on Nov. 18. Had all gone as planned, the boy likely would have spent Christmas with his new parents — Colleen Kochanek and her wife, Stephanie Norris. The two have been together for 17 years and married...

Read the full article here