Foster Child Suffers Burns, Lawsuit Filed - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Foster Child Suffers Burns, Lawsuit Filed


by Amanda Hara

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - An 11-year-old foster child suffered third degree burns over his entire body.  Now his foster parents and the company that placed him in their care are at the center of a three million dollar lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that a stove fire caused the burns and that the foster parents kept the child suffering in agonizing pain for three hours, before eventually taking him to the hospital.

The painful burns across his body only added to a lifetime riddled with agony.  It was 2007 and the then 11-year-old boy had already witnessed domestic violence at home, was then taken away from his family, only to suffer from behavioral issues and find himself in foster care.

His new guardians, Terry and Closhetta Shelton, were supposed to be his new beginning.

But when the boy was allowed to fry food on the stove unsupervised, things went wrong.  The grease caught fire, and then the flames spread to his body.

A newly filed law suit claims that the boy's foster parents responded to the burns not with urgency, but neglect.

Attorney Gary Blackburn said the boy was left to suffer at home, then in the car as Mr. Shelton pumped gas, and dropped another foster child off at school. Three hours later, Blackburn said the burns were finally attended to at Vanderbilt.

Terry and Closhetta Shelton are named in the suit, including Omni Visions, the company contracted by the Department of Children's Services to place children in foster care.

In all, the suit asks for three million in damages, not just to help with the boys lifelong disability fund, but also to send a message to companies like Omni Vision, that there are consequences.

The attorney said the boy is still in foster care, but that plans are in the works to reunite him with his mother within the next few months.

NewsChannel 5 tried getting in touch with Omni Vision, but their offices had closed before the suit was made available. We were also unable to reach the foster parents, Terry and Closhetta Shelton.

Jim Henry owns Omni Visions, the company named in the suit that places children in foster care and works with developmentally disabled children.

Henry's own child suffers from a disability. In 2002, he ran for Governor on the Republican ticket and in the 1980's he served in the Tennessee House of Representatives.


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