AZ Child Welfare Agency Takes Child From Loving Family, Places Her in Horrifically Abusive Foster Care

By Rachel Alexander Published on August 29, 2017

This isn’t supposed to happen. Child welfare agencies are supposed to take children out of abusive situations, not put them into ones.

Arizona’s Department of Child Safety wrongly took a little girl away from her parents and placed her with a foster parent who ran a pornographic pedophile ring and committed sexual misconduct against a minor. They also placed her with a woman who burnt her over 80 percent of her body with scalding water.

Beth Breen, who transported Devani back and forth to her parents for visitation when they were allowed to see her, said, “What they [DCS] were trying to protect her FROM is the exact thing that they did to her.”

The scandal came to light when the girl’s court-appointed guardian sued the state over the harm. (The guardian is different from the court-appointed attorney, who’s a defendant in the suit for her alleged part in Devani’s mistreatment.)

The complaint alleges that the state “removed Jane Doe from her home and her biological mother based on a fear of potential harm.” There was “never any abuse proven nor demonstrated.”

The state’s reasons for concern might be defended. What can’t be defended, however, is the agency’s almost lethal incompetence in placing Devani into foster care. The agency having endangered Devani in that way, it’s reasonable to distrust its earlier decisions to take the little girl away from apparently loving parents and blame the mother for every problem she had in foster care.

Taken Without Justifiable Reason

According to Health Impact News, the state seized a little girl named Devani from her parents a few days before her second birthday.  (Most of the details are corroborated by the Arizona Daily Star, the major daily newspaper in southern Arizona.)

A neighbor called the police when her parents, Michelle Tremor-Calderon and Jonathan Hileman, had been arguing. There was no violence or physical contact, and Devani was not present.

The state filed domestic violence charges against Michelle. They were later dismissed. Nevertheless, without a warrant, the state took Devani into custody.

Michelle had a past history of drug use, but had since become clean. She took a drug test to prove it. Jonathan also had a troubled past, but had turned his life around. He served 20 years in prison for robbery and sexually assaulting an adult. DCS used their pasts against them. Social workers were “concerned” the parents might hurt their child and kept her in custody.

Devani in Foster Care

While Devani was in foster care, Michelle could tell she was not doing well. She noticed scratches, bite marks and bruises on her. She complained to DCS but nothing happened. Michelle finally called the police.

Only then did DCS transfer Devani to a second foster care family, David and Barbara Frodsham. She lived with them for 18 months. While living there and allowed to visit her mother, her mother noticed signs of sexual abuse. She had thumb marks on her hips, scratches and bruises. She developed a long-lasting urinary tract infection, a well-known sign of possible sexual abuse.

When Michelle expressed her concerns to social workers, they accused her of “disrupting the foster care placements” and “coaching” her daughter.

When Michelle expressed her concerns to social workers, they accused her of “disrupting the foster care placements” and “coaching” her daughter to hate being in the Frodsham’s home.

When case workers saw Devani having temper tantrums, urinating on herself and crying, they blamed it on Michelle, not on the foster parents. Devani was finally taken away from the Frodsham’s after David left her in his car when picking up a check from a state office. He was found to have a blood alcohol level of .28 — almost four times the legal limit.

Michelle was ultimately vindicated. Later it was revealed that David Frodsham sexually abused children and ran a child pedophilia ring. Devani had been one of his victims. He’s now serving a 17-year sentence.

Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire

Incredibly, a judge in Tucson terminated Michelle’s parental rights in October 2015. He declared that Devani’s behavior was a result of her not bonding with Michelle.

According to the Daily Star, Devani’s parents had violated a few of the agency’s rules, which complicated their case to get their child back. Michelle allowed Jonathan to be with them at their visits, for example, when he was not allowed there. He was also “relapsing,” the newspaper claimed, citing unspecified “reports.”

The state placed Devani with a couple who wanted to adopt her, Justin and Samantha Osteraas. Justin’s brother warned DCS that Samantha had problems with violence and drugs.

After having Devani for 18 months, Samantha submerged her in scalding water in a bathtub. She suffered burns over 80 percent of her body. Doctors had to amputate all 10 toes. Suffering organ failure, Devani was placed in a medically-induced coma.

Samantha is currently facing felony criminal charges. Sadly, the agency and the court refused to let Michelle visit her daughter in the hospital. However, according to the suit, they did not terminate the Osteraas’s relation with Devani, so the state “would not be liable for the intensive care hospital bills. This let Jonathan Osteraas visit her in the hospital and be involved in her care, “which has harmed Jane Doe [Devani] in her mental health and ability to recover.”

Overly Aggressive Child Protective Services

Beth Breen, who transported Devani back and forth to her parents for visitation when they were allowed to see her, told Health Impact News, “What they [DCS] were trying to protect her FROM is the exact thing that they did to her.” She observed that when she drove Devani to see her parents, she was joyful and excited. When she returned her to foster care, she would scream, kick and cry unconsolably.

Child protective agencies are sometimes overly aggressive in taking children away from the parents. To make matters worse, some people become foster parents either for the money or even to molest children. Devani’s parents do not appear to have done anything to warrant taking her away from them. The lawsuit should get to the bottom of this tragic situation.


Follow Rachel on Twitter at Rach_IC.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • SophieA

    A lawsuit will not and simply cannot return this child’s innocence or childhood. A nightmare story that is far from over.

    • Nobody Specific

      Or her toes!

      CPS has got way out of hand in most of this country and it needs to be reigned in because parental rights, are important and must be protected. CPS should NEVER be empowered to remove a child from a home without a criminal complaint against a parent or both parents full consent. If there is a criminal matter they should only be allowed to remove a child upon either conviction or prior if a judge agrees there is potential for harm of serious nature to occur before the matter can be resolved. If parents are not convicted than any actions CPS has taken should be promptly reversed.

      • Clandestino ForLE

        Then all the children seized without warrants from parents who sell them to child molesters would return to the parents if a judge is snowed or a fascist?

        • Nobody Specific

          I have no doubt there will be a sad case or two. We live in a fallen world we should err on the side of families

  • Beth Young Breen

    Thank you so much for getting Devani’s story out. We need awareness about this ongoing problem. Devani survived the most horrific abuse not at the hands of her parents but the agency that we believe is there to protect children. It’s a shame that it’s all about money for DCS. They are trying to yet AGAIN adopt her out so AGAIN they can profit off the misery of this poor child and her family has been in agony for 3 1/2 years trying to get her home.

    • Rachel Alexander

      And thank YOU for speaking up. I might not have known about this story to write about it if it wasn’t for you speaking out. That is horrible to hear they are still considering not returning her to her parents. As someone who’s been the victim of corruption in the legal system, I understand what’s going on better than anyone and now speak up for others who have been victimized by it.

    • Becky

      3 1/2 years must feel like an eternity. Thank you for getting this out. We will have more people praying and contending…

  • Becky

    This is so horrifying. My heart breaks for this innocent child and her parents!!! God of all comfort, and Judge of the courts of Heaven, defend this precious child and her parents in Jesus’ name!!! Angel armies, go and tear down every plot and plan of the enemy in Jesus’ name! Restore what has been stollen 100-fold!!! Redeem this family, God!!! Resurrection life over this little girl and her parents! Justice, GOD. We cry out for justice!!! Only you can move in the minds of those who are in authority. Speak to them in dreams – give them nightmares and cause them to be physically ill until they return this little girl to her parents. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

    • Mo

      @ Becky

      Yes, amen! What a horrific story.This poor little girl.

  • Kristina Lunde

    This is almost beyond comprehension. It breaks my heart and enrages my soul. Finger-pointing does no good. Our systems are broken. Many caseworkers are ill-equipped to properly handle their caseloads and be able to assess a child in danger versus a family in crisis while tasked to follow guidelines that are counter intuitive to repairing broken families. Solutions? Rebuild repair restructure all in one family centers. Intensive interactive watchdog committee for Foster parent accountability.
    These words may look good on paper as a utopian ideal… but to really fix something sometimes you have to start from scratch.
    My heart goes out to the parents and especially to this beautiful little girl.

  • Clandestino ForLE

    While a tenant at North 17 Apartments @ 9601 N 17th Ave several years back (I lived in unit 103), the children said/did terrible things that were causing the handicapped/disabled tenants to die faster from serious medical conditions, and the children were overheard saying/told me that they know what they say/do is “bad” and they “don’t wanna”, but rather, that they “want an (authority) to tell” but that the adults supervising them told them that “to question children is abuse”. To not question the children is the same as supporting fascism/communism!

  • Hoythunderfh

    How dare these hateful Anti-White institutions from the government, schools, CPS, etc. can use any excuse to kidnap White children and plunder their little lives under anti-White indoctrination. They are all 100% ANTI-WHITE!! and they teach White youth that they are immoral and contemptible if they don’t support the ongoing program of White Genocide that is being carried out through massive non-White immigration and force assimilation i.e ‘Diversity’ in EVERY White country and ONLY White countries. Teachers and providers will never tell White youth, “White self-hatred is SICK!!!”

    Anti-Whites must be locked up!! and must pay back permanent reparations!!!

  • Dustie McIntire

    Hello my name is Dustie and I had filled out “Children, families and Arizona”. Survey for a 2ed time. 12 months is up in February and I am a desperate mother in need of help against DCS and the corruption. My last court hearing was December 6th and the one before permanecy is January 14th. They had open two criminal cases, the 2ed one was reopened from same allegations of the closed 1st case but with alot of new false allegations being talked about through every court hearing. I had 5 parent aids in a 6 month contract, each parent aid started over and some didn’t do solo, so I could never complete. My last parent aid on last day due to contract said to me the kids are not in risk in my care from what she observed. Possibly why I had new ones because each one said I am not a bad mother and very little actually needed help on. Far as I am aware the major reason why the children was remove was supposedly my 6 yr old at time said she was locked in attic and wasn’t allowed out until morning. Then the 1st criminal investigation case was open stating how my daughter was locked in attic and children touching inappropriate with each other. My children had told forensic they sleep in their own beds and admit they touch each other with clothes on a couple of times. Pd closed the case. 2ed one was open stating my daughter told foster she was being touched by her brother (remind you that was closed already from 1st case)but they had open 2ed case on same closed allegations. Throughout the months dcs slowly added new allegations that are false. They even accuse our support system but never once talk to those they accused. We had lost visits due to these allegations and now the 2ed criminal investigation is closed due to lack of evidence. From my understanding the only evidence they had was the kids answering questions to none pd forensics counselor who admitted on stand she recommended visits to stop and her evidence was based on documents by dcs. She said she didn’t need to talk to my daughter or see parent aid notes. Even with 2ed criminal investigation closed. However dcs did still mention about how they want services done for the close criminal case because lie test that was pass doesn’t stand in court. Both the fathers and my lawyer has seen the lies from dcs for a few months. My lawyer called it paintbrush case and had couple of cases like this. This goes all way up to district attorney, possibly onward. On the 6th my lawyer had mentioned how my 11 year old isn’t adoptable and how my 7 year old daughter is in court. Dcs had told foster family she was in 1st grade when they took her Feb 28th 2018, however she just had started kindergarten that august 2017. Needless to say my kindergartner had past 1st grade. A day that is both happy and saddens me. I am proud of my daughter for her accomplishment but sadden because being there to watch her graduate 1st years of school and in a grade she should not had been in was taken from me. She has been looking towards to school for years. Even while she was in kindergarten around December she would come home all excited saying she moved up to 1st grade. The school said she didnt move up. My daughter wanted to be in 1St grade already, she was usually the 1st one getting class work done before everyone else and was bord sitting there. The foster family is registered couple willing to adopt. On the 6th dcs claimed my daughter didn’t want visits ( supposed to get thearpy visits with my son) However my last visit around September with my daughter, she left a video to her brother (they haven’t seen each other since about may or so) video messages was the only way the kids got to see each other. I will attach a Google drive link of this video. I will actually post the 1st message to his sister then her 2 replies and the last visit message to her brother he never got to see about saying how she wants him here with us. How much she loves him and loves me. She loves both of us equally. The kids lawyer had stood in court on the 6th and looked mad stating how the kids had told him in his office they want visits. He said this whole case has so many questions and thinKS there is something going on behind the curtain. The judge ordered on dcs side regardless with no visit with my daughter until her counselor says, dcs wants her counselor to be the one who recommend stop visits based on dcs fake documents. I have read and seen soo many similar kidnapping cases just as mine..the in tial call was school said they was dirty and smell. They was clean going to school One of our accused support even said they was clean. Even say thats true, dirt on your body is not immediate danger and not grounds to take. So they came back 3 weeks later stating the attic bs. Besides the kids ate breakfast at school and probably didn’t wash up then went played on school playground. They came home with dirty faces and I always had to have them wash up. PLEASE I beg Please Help a mother that is dying on the inside. My daughter had told me on a visit that she wants to run away from where she is but doesn’t because if I run away mommy I know I can’t see you again and I want to see you. I’m afraid for my 7 yr Olds life if she does get taken. I’ve mentioned this and it gets turn blind eyes. Please help, I beg don’t let my kids be another loving parent torn apart from being a profit from a kidnapped family statistic.

    Jj 1st message to his sister.mp4
    Video via Google Drive

    1st part reply to jj.mp4
    Video via Google Drive

    2ed part reply to jj.mp4
    Video via Google Drive

    Message to brother he never got see_001.mp4
    Video via Google Drive

To God be the Glory
James Robison
More from The Stream
Connect with Us