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Concerns spark over abuse in the adoption&foster care system after Washington couple drives family off a cliff

(WAOW)- A jury determined a Washington state couple committed murder suicide when they drove off a cliff killing their six adoptive children.

When you look at a picture of the Hart family and their six adoptive kids, you see nothing but huge smiles.

However, behind that was pain.

Officials confirmed Jennifer Hart intentionally drove her kids off a cliff in California, all while her wife googled ways to end lives.

“It’s a sad scenario and I think people regularly think how could we have prevented this and there is a lot of signs and symptoms,” said Christa Jensen of the Marathon County Social Services.

CNN reports the kids would sneak off to a neighbor in the middle of the night to ask for food.

Just days before the family died, Child Protective Services in Washington requested a welfare check on the family.

However, by the time they arrived the family was already gone.

Experts believe, the fact that the kids were home schooled could have made it tougher to catch the abuse.

“What I could tell you is school personal is our number one reporters of child neglect and abuse,” Jensen said. “When somebody is seeing them on a regular basis somebody might be able to see if their physical appearance is diminishing or they aren’t gaining weight.”

Patrick Schmidt knows all too well about the hardships that come with fostering and adopting.

He has had six kids at a time live with him.

“I felt at points where it’s like there is not enough of me to take care of all these children so I don’t know what to do next so I get that,” said Schmidt.

Experts are always urging foster parents to just ask for help before tragedy hits.

In Wisconsin, foster parents have to be cleared mentally and physically to take in kids.

They have to get their license renewed every two years.



Victoria Saha

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