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Vegas mom files lawsuit against family services

Reported by: Fatima Rahmatullah
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Updated: 6/25 7:11 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- A Las Vegas mother is suing Clark County, employees with the county's department of family services, and her child's foster parents. She claims her two children suffered from neglect while under foster care.

Former foster parents Andrea Miller and Waldo Hernandez are being sued for child neglect.

The husband and wife were sentenced to five years of probation for failing to care for their two foster children, and now the children's biological parents are suing.

According to court documents, a 17-month-old boy and his younger brother were severely burned with skin infections while in their care.

"He had a three-inch burn from when his diaper was changed; and we won't call it a diaper, it was a trash bag that was put on him outside in the hot sun," said Jason Lather, the attorney for the children and their biological parents.

"The younger one had a severe rash; his skin had broken down and there was infection; it was in every fold of his skin," Lather said.

The parents filed a lawsuit seeking damages of $10,000 alleging their two children suffered physical and psychological harm in foster care.

According to the Clark County Department of Family Services, foster parents undergo at least 30 hours of training, as well as federal and local background checks.

The agency won't comment on pending litigation, but sent a statement that reads in part, quote:

"...generally speaking, children are removed when the circumstances in the home threaten their safety."

According to a child welfare outcomes report to Congress, in 2011, less than one percent of children were maltreated while in foster care in Nevada.

This is not a high number on paper, and translates to 42 children out of more than 7,000.

"That should be zero and so I think it points to the importance of continual improvement in our systems," said child advocate Tara Phebus, who says state data shows one out of every two children in foster care do not receive regular visits.

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