Waco Girl, Brother Who Drowned In Area Lake Were In Foster Care

GEORGETOWN (July 7, 2014) A 4-year-old Waco girl and her 6-year-old brother who drowned Sunday as they played in the water in Lake Georgetown were in foster care and state officials say they have halted placements by the agency that put them in their foster home.

The two children were placed in a foster home on Aug. 2, 2013, in Cedar Park, Department of Family and Protective Services spokeswoman Julie Moody said.

Two other siblings, a 1-year-old-girl and a 22-month-old boy, who were placed in the foster home earlier this year, have been moved and the foster home is closed pending the outcome of the investigation, Moody said.

The children were placed in the home by Austin-based Providence Kids, a licensed placement agency.

The agency has 29 foster children in eight homes in Bell, Williamson, Travis, Lee and Hays Counties, Moody said.

Child Protective Services representatives will visit each child in the eight foster homes individually, Moody said.

"This is an unspeakable tragedy," said Judge John Specia, DFPS Commissioner.

"We will find out exactly what happened, and whether or not it could have been prevented. Foster children must be kept safe."

Officers were sent late Sunday afternoon to the lake where witnesses say the children were playing in water 2 to 3 feet deep and about 15 feet off the shoreline when they went under.

Police say the girl was recovered about five minutes after disappearing and her brother was found about 15 minutes later.

The two were taken by helicopter to a hospital but could not be revived.

Scrutiny of the child welfare system in Texas intensified after foster care deaths tied to abuse and neglect rose sharply last year.