April 28th, 2010
02:25 PM ET

Mom on son who died in state care: 'I trusted people'

Mother Elena Andron says she learned the hard way not to trust the Michigan Department of Human Services but it was her son who paid the ultimate price.

Jonny Dragomir, 10, died in the care of Michigan’s Department of Human Services in March 2007.

The boy was in the state’s care for about a year until his death, according to CNN affiliate WXYZ. In a video posted on WXYZ’s website Mullen explains that the boy who could not walk, talk, or feed himself was handed to the state under a one year agreement.

Andron tried to get her son back after seeing that her son was deteriorating and losing weight but instead she was taken to court by the state. And then, Andron's son starved to death.

“I handed them a healthy boy and got him back in a casket’,’ Andron said in a taped interview with WXYZ.

According to WXYZ’s reporting the bottom line is this: states have "a financial incentive to keep kids in the foster care system. Federal law sets it up that way — the more kids in the state system, the more money the federal government gives Michigan. And in Johnny’s case, the foster care facility got $12,000 a month to care for him.”

Elena Andron was not allowed to see her son the last six months of his life. She was notified by the state via telephone of death several days after his passing.

Read WXYZ's full investigative report

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  1. Sarah

    A few more details to add to the story....

    A Dearborn, Michigan mother, Elena Andron, 32, asked for help from social services when she lost her job. She asked that the state help take care of her quadriplegic nine-year-old son, Johnny Dragomir. Unfortunately Johnny starved to death in the Monroe Foster Home in Detroit; owner Mildred Monroe, a registered nurse and dietician, apparently didn’t feed him enough and he died of malnutrition.

    Elena Andron has filed suit against the the foster care home and others, asking $30 million in damages.

    Andron stated in her lawsuit that when she became concerned about her son’s health she was denied access to him. When he entered foster care he weighed 80 pounds, and when he died, he weighed only 48 pounds. His school teacher didn’t notice any “red flags” and the foster home still has an active license.

    April 28, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sandy


    April 28, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sandy


    April 28, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. swell_swell

    To those who don't think the state would take a well-cared for child away from a parent - ever hear of Prader-Willi syndrome or Osteogenesis Imprefecta? Prader-Willi causes severe weight gain due to a genetic inability to feel full - those with the disorder feel hungry all the time. So they eat all the time. And it appears to CYS that the child is being over-fed fatty foods.

    Osteogenesis imperfecta is also known as "brittle bone disease." This disease causes unexplained fractures that often resemble abuse. Unless a doctor knows what to look for, CYS will be called and the child removed from the parents' care. Unfortunately, getting custody back can be excessively difficult.

    Other disease can also cause similar difficulties with CYS: Hurler, Horner, Krabbe, etc. All of these are genetic diseases that may crop up suddenly and are characterized by loss of milestones. Autism can likewise be misinterpreted by underskilled individuals.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Simon

    Further evidence why government run health care is a bad idea. I hope the perpetrators of this crime are publicly humiliated.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. rh

    If I was the mom, I'd want the social worker in charge of his case put in jail as well as the people directly in charge of his care. No money, just stop them from killing more kids and make them leave their loved ones.

    What is with these nurses? One sends back her 7 year old on a plane, and another "doesn't notice" that a kid is starving to death.

    IMHO, I wonder if he died of a broken heart and they ignored it 🙁

    April 28, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bebeblugirl

    Momma always said "DON'T TRUST NO ONE, NO ONE WITH YOUR CHILD" This poor mother had to learn it the hard way.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rootntootn

    Wow..I'm surprised...NOT! Poor woman...and, more importantly, that poor boy! Please, people, use this story as an opportunity to focus more on the abuses of ALL children, in and out of state custody. These things happen over and over because people read about these atrocities, say, "OH HOW SAD", and cut it off from their day to day life. People, wake up and realize that just as child abuse is perpetrated 24/7 so must adults against ANY brutality be aware and thwarting against it's common place. MOST people talk and don't DO a thing. It needs to be the other way around...

    April 29, 2010 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. Liz1388

    1) Kudos to those who read the *whole* story and didn't just jump to the conclusion the mother's rights were terminated because she did something wrong.
    2) I agree that this tragedy needs investigated. Especially as to why the mother was not allowed to see her son for half a year before he died. That is very suspicious.
    3) That said, anyone who has experienced extremely disabled and/or depressed people knows how hard it is to get them to eat if they will not. I don't know if the mother had signed something that prohibited intravenous or forced feeding in that case – it isn't usual for this to be done with a child who is not terminal or brain dead.

    Hopefully this law suit will reveal what was going on. I hope the mother doesn't just settle out of court if she knows the institution he was in neglected that boy. It needs to be revealed if there is a systemic problem.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dave Althaus

    This is a very poorly written article. It provides the reader with none of the salient facts about the background of the case. Where is the history? Where are the details?

    If you are going to get the masses stirred up, at least provide some facts. Learn to write and report....or get a McJob.

    Love and Kisses,

    April 29, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. Caseworker

    Whether she was a good mother or not does not matter. The fact is that the child was placed in a "protective, nuturing and caring" environment...NOT....she had every right to sue and those medical staff that supposedly cared for the child should be fired.

    July 13, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. One of "Mom's Friend"

    Let's just say something; I know the mother; firstof all the reason she had to give Johnny away was because her boyfriend kicked her out of the house because he couldn't deal with her bipolar and drinking problems anymore; she didn't have a job for at least 10 years; the case was settled for less than $500.000. And since her son died she borowed more than this amount from different "sharks" for what she is unable to pay back. She made no deal with the state; she had the opportunity to take her son back every third month during this year, but she HAD to complete "parenting classes" to prove she found a job and that she wasn't drinking anymore which she wasn't able to complete. She almost lost her Parenting Right, but before she did that Johnny died.

    December 29, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. SuckX

    didn't understand of you'r words

    August 17, 2011 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
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