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$15M Awarded to AL Foster Child’s Estate Following Wrongful Death Suit

Nearly a decade after an 8-year-old child died after experiencing breathing problems while in foster care, two of the people who were sued and held responsible have been found liable by a jury and sentenced to pay $15 million to the child’s estate.

On Aug. 5, a Montgomery County jury found Kristi Kelley and Becky Van Gilder responsible in the death of the child, who died on May 30, 2013 at Children’s of Alabama. The child’s death came after he had experienced breathing problems while in foster care.

Kelley was a social worker with the Alabama Department of Human Resources while Gilder was the victim’s foster parent.

According to a lawsuit filed in January 2015 by the estate’s attorney Andrew Moak, the child was placed in DHR custody. Subsequently, Kelley placed the boy in foster care with Van Gilder. The lawsuit stated that the child suffered from sickle cell anemia, which had had been able to manage with medication up to that point. The estate claimed that while Kelley and Van Gilder were given the child’s medication, it was never administered to him.

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