Foster Placement Agency Doubles in Size Despite Major Complaints

Cincinnati.com reported this week on Lifeway For Youth, an agency that now operates under the name Benchmark Family Services. After the sad and shocking death of 3-year-old Marcus Fiesel in 2006, the Ohio agency was disbanded. Since that time, the company has opened businesses in other states and continues to grow, bringing in millions of dollars.

Little Marcus was placed in the foster home of Liz and David Carroll, who couldn’t be bothered with him over a two-day family reunion. So they bound him in blankets tied shut with tape and left him in a closet. When they returned, he was dead, and they burned his remains in a chimney. The Carrolls are now in prison, but individuals and the state were in an uproar over his placement with the Carrolls. Investigations proved that not only had they not received adequate training, but the agency did not perform background checks on the couple before placing Marcus in their care. The agency’s license was revoked in 2008.

As the agency has grown in various states, their practices seem to not be changing. In 2013 a foster child in Texas who required 24-hour watch care drowned while unsupervised. In Indiana, an 18-month old foster child didn’t receive required care for gangrene, and the agency was put on probation. In Georgia the agency has been fined seven times for state violations.