Lawsuit alleges Fort Worth foster care agency failed to prevent abuse, death of toddler

Domingo Ramirez Jr.
·4 min read

A lawsuit was filed this week against a Fort Worth foster care organization and its employees, accusing them of failing to follow proper requirements in the care of a 3-year-old who died last year.

The parents of Amari Boone, represented by The Button Law Firm, filed the lawsuit Monday in Dallas against ACH Child and Family Services in Fort Worth. Rodney Boone and Ariana George believe the foster care agency failed to keep their son safe from abuse by his foster parents, according to the lawsuit. Amari died April 12, 2020, after his third emergency visit to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

Officials with ACH Child and Family Services could not immediately be reached Thursday for comment.

In March, a Tarrant County grand jury indicted the two caretakers of Amari Boone, who was under state supervision through contractor ACH when he died of a blow to his head.

Deondrick Foley, 37, was indicted on seven counts of injury to a child by omission-bodily injury. Joseph Delancy, 29, was indicted on one count of injury to a child by omission-serious bodily injury and on four counts of injury to a child by omission-bodily injury.

Fort Worth police arrested Foley and Delancy, who are partners, on Jan. 22.

Their trials are pending.

Foley and Delancy drove Amari to Cook Children’s Medical Center on April 10, 2020. He had a fractured skull and other critical injuries and died two days later. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of the boy’s death was blunt force trauma of the head, and the manner was homicide.

Delancy reluctantly told police that a fall from a bathroom counter to a hardwood floor explained Amari’s head injury, according to an affidavit supporting the arrests written by Fort Worth police Detective Christopher Parker. Delancy said he stepped away from the room before the fall. He returned, and the child “jumped back up” and was talking, according to Delancy’s account. Nothing appeared to be seriously wrong, and Amari fell asleep, he said.

Foley and Delancy told police Amari was under a playpen when they woke later in the morning. He was unresponsive, and they headed to Cook Children’s from their apartment in the 1200 block of Dover Cliff Court, the suspects said.

A Cook Children’s physician told the detective that a fall from a bathroom counter could not have caused the “massive skull fracture and massive brain injury and massive bleeding around the brain” that Amari suffered, according to the affidavit.

The lawsuit alleges that Amari’s death could have been prevented through proper supervision and timely intervention.

According to the lawsuit, records indicated that Amari’s court appointed special advocate (CASA), daycare director, family, and neighbors warned Amari’s ACH case manager and her supervisors that the child was experiencing abuse two months before his death.

That case manager was warned several times, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also alleges that his case manager did not properly document these reports, made reckless assumptions, and was remiss in following procedures to conduct home visits and personally check on Amari.

CASA even went as far as to report the abuse to the Texas Abuse Hotline, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that ACH determined Amari would need to be removed if there were additional signs of abuse. The suit says the agency failed to follow through or conduct a home visit when another report was made. That report was when Amari had swelling appearing from his right ear to his right eye sustained six days before his death.

The affidavit in the criminal case describes detectives asking the suspects about the status of Amari’s toilet training and whether anger with accidents fueled physical abuse. It notes that Amari suffered previous injuries, including a pelvic fracture and bruises and cuts that occurred while Amari was in Foley and Delancy’s custody.

Officials with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services had removed Amari and his younger brother from their biological parents on Oct. 3, 2018, and placed them in foster care, according to the department’s report on its investigation of the boy’s death.

The department received a report that Ariana George, the boys’ mother, abused drugs and that Amari was present during physical altercations. It determined that Amari’s brother tested positive for marijuana when the sibling was born.

This report contains information from Fort Worth Star-Telegram archives.