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Foster care agency surrenders license, one year after child's death

child's drawing on chalkboard
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One year after the death of a nine-year-old foster child, the foster care agency responsible for that child's placement is shutting down.

Alternatives for Children and Families in Genesee County repeatedly placed kids in foster homes with "significant violations … and safety issues," according to a state investigation following the death of Omarion Humphrey.

Humphrey was autistic, and apparently wandered away from his foster family at a park last summer. His body was later found in a lake.

State investigators say the agency never trained Humphrey's foster parent to work with autistic kids.

And the state says the agency knew that foster parent allegedly hit a child and failed to report sexual abuse in the home.

Christine Rehagen is with Child Welfare Licensing at the Department of Health and Human Servcies. She says some children placed through the agency were ultimately removed from those foster placements.

"But the majority of them, we did not; we kept them with those foster parents and we monitored them.”

Rehagen says those foster parents are now licensed through other agencies.

Alternatives for Children and Families did not immediately return requests for comment. 

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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