NewsTeam 10 Investigates


Legal claim filed against county after foster care death

Legal claim filed against county after foster care death
Posted at 9:17 PM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 00:17:59-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Calls for San Diego County to stop placing kids at a state-licensed home for local youth in the North County are being answered.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the County told ABC 10News, “At this stage, the County is not making placements at Circle of Friends.”

That decision comes after a Team 10 investigation uncovered a series of disturbing incidents at the state-licensed home.

It also comes after a legal claim was filed against the County.

The claim, which comes before a lawsuit, alleges that the County of San Diego did not keep Isaiah Shane safe while he was in their care.

Shane died in May of this year. According to his autopsy report, he was found unresponsive in the bathroom of his group home (Circle of Friends) and later died at the hospital from a drug overdose.

The claim alleges, “San Diego County failed to provide adequate monitoring, protection, and supervision to Isiah. The claim alleges that each of the County’s involved social workers failed in their duty.”

At a press conference on Thursday, Isaiah’s mother, Amanda Shane, read a short statement.

“It’s imperative that every child within the custody of San Diego County, of the State of California, be kept alive and be given proper medical and mental health care,” Amanda Shane said.

The Escondido home is operated by the nonprofit Circle of Friends.

Records obtained by Team 10 show nearly 350 police calls to the address listed for the facility from 2017 through the middle of September 2021.

Police records show they responded to everything from runaway juveniles to alleged drug use and threats of violence.

In March of 2021, a state investigation report showed an inappropriate relationship between a staff member and a minor. A staff member was arrested and pleaded guilty to oral copulation.

At a press conference on Thursday, local civil rights advocate Shane Harris called on the County of San Diego to stop placing kids with Circle of Friends.

“What we are dealing with is a county that fails to address the issues pertaining to our foster care system,” Harris said. “What we’re dealing with is a county leadership that is failing to demonstrate doing what they say they are doing when they take kids from their parents.”

ABC 10News reached out to the Circle of Friends board president to comment on Thursday’s press conference. We did not hear back by this writing. In past ABC 10News reports, Mindey Morrison has defended Circle of Friends saying they’ve always held themselves to the highest standards and have helped hundreds of kids.

State Senate Action

In response to the Team 10 investigation, State Senator Brian Jones has asked the State Senate Committee on Human Services to conduct an informational hearing on Assembly Bill 403.

The letter states, “As you may know, AB 403 revised the rules governing ‘group homes’ and instead instituted a new category of home called a Short Term Residential Treatment Center.”

The letter goes on to say, “Give a situation that has occurred in my district, and may be occurring throughout the state, I think our committee should review how AB 403 is working. Specifically, how is the newly created entity of a STRTC working for the clients, caregivers, and the community.”