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AZ senator wants accountability after boy with diabetes died in foster care | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


An Arizona senate leader wants accountability and answers following an ABC15 Investigation into the heartbreaking death of a 9-year-old boy with diabetes who died 18 days after being placed in the state’s foster care system.

“I am truly sorry that the state of Arizona did not live up to its responsibility in this case,” Senator T.J. Shope, R-Casa Grande, said.

Jakob Blodgett was a type one diabetic. He died last December after employees at a Phoenix group home let him refuse his insulin – the lifesaving medication doctors said he needed to live, according to an incident report from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. MCSO has an open investigation into Jakob’s death.

“Boggles my mind that one of the most basic things, maybe a step above administering a children’s Tylenol to somebody, would be mishandled really the way that it was,” Shope said.

Senator Shope chairs the Health and Human Services Committee which has direct oversight over the Department of Child Safety (DCS).

Shope said he wants more transparency from DCS, the state agency responsible for protecting Arizona’s children, and to know what the agency is doing to prevent another tragedy.

“We’re left to answer the questions that I think really should be answered by the folks who are over in that building,” he said. “I don’t want to see another one of these incidents happen. It’s terrible.”

“DCS didn’t have the knowledge or the skill to provide this child with the medical needs that he had,” Robert Pastor, an attorney representing Jakob’s father said.

Pastor recently put the state on notice of a pending lawsuit. Medical records showed DCS caseworkers struggled to manage Jakob’s condition from the beginning, and he needed emergency care three different times before his death, 18 days after being placed in Arizona’s foster care system.

“I think that this is something that warrants many, many more questions and many more inquiries into the department,” Shope said. “We have a situation right here where an agency truly failed a family.”

“We’re looking for justice for Jakob,” Cheryl Doenges, Jakob’s grandmother said.

ABC15 has asked multiple times for new DCS Director David Lujan to answer questions about Jakob’s death and what’s being done to prevent it from happening again, but the agency has declined all our interview requests. A DCS spokesperson said the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

“I think it is warranted [an interview] … and ultimately, when you’re a director, just as I am as a senator and even in this case, a chair of a committee, the buck stops with whoever that top person is,” Shope said. “This child did not deserve to die.”

ABC15 will continue to call and email DCS until we get the answers Jakob’s family, and the community deserve.

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