Officials: Baby’s dies in state care, investigation underway

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A 4-month-old baby died in the state’s custody on Sunday, Oregon child welfare officials have confirmed.

The Department of Human Services disclosed the baby’s death Tuesday, under a 2019 transparency law that requires state leaders to tell the public when a child on their radar dies by possible abuse or neglect, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

The agency did not provide specific information about the baby’s death, such as how or where the baby died. The agency said police are investigating the circumstances.

Department of Human Services spokesman Jake Sunderland said case workers are still collecting information about the case. He said although DHS was the baby’s legal guardian, the baby was not in general foster care.

In Oregon, it’s routine for law enforcement to investigate unexpected deaths of children. The investigations do not often lead to criminal charges. Even so, if DHS officials have a reason to believe a child in their care died by abuse or neglect, they have to promptly disclose basic facts about the case online and launch a mandatory review into what happened.

DHS officials also have to conduct the reviews if a child dies by abuse or neglect after recent interaction with the child welfare system.