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Four-Year-Old Boy With Down's Syndrome Died After Being Put Into Foster Care

20/01/2014 17:16 | Updated 20 May 2015

A four-year-old boy with Down's syndrome died seven months after being taken away from his parents and put into foster care.

Jonas Stadden was in good health when he was removed from his mum and dad by Somerset County Council's social services.

He was in the care of foster parents when he collapsed at their home on November 24 last year.

An ambulance was called but when the crew arrived, they suggested an air ambulance was needed because of the distance to the hospital. Jonas could not be saved.

So far his parents, Haydn Stadden and Sara Russell, have not been told how he died and an investigation by the coroner is ongoing.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Sara, 47, told of her anguish at her son's death. "I have nightmares. of people in white coats trying to revive him," she said.

"We have so many questions we want answered. We have sent a list to Somerset County Council."

Sara, who lives in Taunton, Somerset, kept a diary of events, in which she details a series of concerns, including an illness before his death.

Four days before Jonas died, he was due to have a contact meeting with his father. But when he arrived at the family centre in Taunton he was unwell and the meeting was curtailed.

Haydn, 48, an unemployed carpenter, took a photograph of his son at the brief meeting, showing him suffering from conjunctivitis.

In her diary – which she has handed to the Telegraph - Sara wrote: "His face was flushed and he was very hot to touch and he had wax leaking from his ear.

"He could not see out of his right eye as it was stuck together with nasty green matter and crusty discharge... He also had a terrible green runny nose... Haydn proceeded to clean Jonas's eyes and face for him and changed his dirty nappy. Poor little boy should never have been there in the first place."

Sara wonders whether the conjunctivitis might even be linked to his death because it can trigger secondary infections, such as meningitis.

Jonas was taken from his parents in April after an interim care order was granted by a local judge.

For legal reasons, the newspaper couldn't report the events surrounding that decision, but Jonas's parents insisted it was not related to their treatment of their son.

Jonas was placed with one foster care family and then moved to another, more experienced in dealing with children with disabilities.

A source told the Telegraph that Jonas was in good physical health when he was taken into care.

The source said: "When he came into care he was just an ordinary little boy as he was when he was in foster care. There was nothing remarkable about his physical health in any way."

The source added: "It is very sad that Jonas died while in foster care. [But] children with Down's syndrome do die [prematurely]."

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: "We have complete confidence in the foster carers who looked after Jonas and who were specialists in looking after and caring for children with disabilities.

"The foster carers acted totally appropriately on the day he died and are deeply upset by his death.

"It is worth noting that the family asked police to make inquiries, which they did, found no evidence of concern, and closed their inquiry."

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