Foster parents get probation in toddler leg burn case


By FRANCIS McCABE

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

Two former foster parents were sentenced Thursday to five years’ probation for failing to properly care for two of their foster children last year.
Andrea Hernandez, 38, and her husband, Waldo Hernandez, 40, tearfully begged District Judge Valorie Vega for leniency at the hearing. Clark County prosecutor Dena Rinetti asked for prison time for the couple.
The Hernandezes each pleaded guilty in December to one count of child neglect or endangerment with substantial bodily harm.
As part of their sentence, the couple could no longer be foster parents, babysit or care for other children who were not their own offspring, Vega said. Waldo Hernandez, an immigrant from El Salvador, will also have to comply with immigration authorities and will likely be deported. He remained in custody following the hearing.
Authorities said two foster children were not properly cared for under the Hernandezes’ supervision when county Department of Family Services foster care licensing workers visited the family in September.
A 17-month-old boy had a three-inch burn scar on his arm and another large scar on his buttocks.
The child was burned and scarred when the foster parents’ autistic 13-year-old son tried to change him outside on a hot June day, using a plastic bag as a diaper and the top of a black mini-fridge as the changing table.
A 2-month-old baby was found with a severe skin infection.
Authorities were alerted after the biological mother called to report a diaper rash, county officials have told the Review-Journal.
But it took days for investigators to find the Hernandezes, who were not at their Las Vegas address. They were found living in a mobile home on a dirt lot in Sandy Valley, about 50 miles southwest of Las Vegas. County workers obtained the new address from records of the Clark County School District, where the couple’s son is a student, and reclaimed the foster children.
The two had been licensed foster parents since 2008.