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Family sues Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services after 22-month-old girl dies while in foster care

The child, Mandisa Sizemore, choked to death on June 16.

CLEVELAND — The family of a 22-month-old girl, who died earlier this year while in foster care, announced Monday they have filed a lawsuit against the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services and others they allege are responsible for the girl's death.

“The child, Mandisa Sizemore, was in the temporary custody of a foster mother and under the care of Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services when she was allegedly left unattended and choked to death June 16, 2020,” according to a press release from the Cochran Firm.

As 3News reported back in June, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Mandisa’s death as accidental, saying it was caused by “choking on foreign material.”

“The child's parents, Dayou Bruce and William Sizemore, Jr., were not notified of the child's death by either the foster mother or their case worker,” officials with the Cochran Firm said. “It was only when the couple went to DCFS in person on June 17, 2020 to inquire about their child's well-being that they were told about Mandisa's tragic passing.”

We streamed the press conference live, which you can watch in the player below:

The family’s attorneys say Mandisa’s family is demanding a complete overhaul of the DCFS system regarding both the care of children and parental notification in the event of an incident.

“Her death violated the mission and vision statement of this department," said attorney Shean Williams with the Cochran Firm. "That statement says: ‘To improve the lives of children as the result of attention, care and support.’”


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