California Teen Dies in Foster Care

A grieving family awaits autopsy report to determine cause of death.

Denalee Chapman January 17, 2015
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The Contra Costa Times reported on the death of Steven Unangst, a 16-year-old in foster care.  He died on December 19, but the death is still under investigation.

Steven was taking psychotropic drugs, prescribed for depression and OCD. When he met his grandmother for a supervised visit, he was glassy-eyed, in a stupor, and drooling. His grandmother, Karla Garvey, asked the social worker to get him to a hospital. The grandmother was told that the foster boy was simply adjusting to a change of dosage in his prescriptions. The next day, Steven was found dead.

Since Steven’s death, three other foster children in his caregiver’s home have been removed. Investigation into Steven’s death will provide answers for the state as well as for Steven’s grieving family and friends.

A high percentage of youth in state foster care are prescribed medications for psychological conditions; roughly 25%. This is more than three times the rate of all teens in the country. Steven’s death is another reminder that more care needs to go in to watching foster children’s medications, there dosage and efficacy.

The full story may be read online here.

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Denalee Chapman

Denalee is an adoptive mother, a motivational speaker, a writer, and a lover of life. She and her husband have adventured through the hills and valleys of life to find that the highest highs and the lowest lows are equally fulfilling. Book Denalee to speak to your group, or find Denalee's writings, including her books on her website at

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