DCF: Auburn child in foster care suffered from heat stroke

BOSTON ( -- On Thursday, the Department of Children and Families and Governor Charlie Baker gave new details about the death of a toddler in foster care.

Two-year-old Avalena Conway Coxon died after being found inside the Auburn home where she lived. A second foster child, 22-month-old Samara, remains in critical condition.

DCF said the children suffered a heat stroke, which would indicate that they had prolonged exposure to a high temperature environment. Both children, along with a third, were foster children in the care of Kimberly Malpass, who also had custody of her own three children.

Malpass' boyfriend, a convicted felon, was living with her at the time.

A state report on the death of a 2-year-old girl in foster care says the Department of Children and Families failed to properly assess the foster mother and evaluate risks to children in her care.

<< MORE: State report on death of toddler >>

“There were many instances of blatant lack of oversight by DCF staff," Baker told our Sharman Sacchetti Thursday.

He went on to say he's working to fix systemic problems in the agency.

"This is grunt work and grit to get to where we need to go and we're going to stay with it and stay with it until it's done," the governor said.

DCF has since closed the foster home. Two of the individuals working for DCF on this case have been reassigned.

The Massachusetts Human Service Workers Union, SEIU Local 509, Chapter President Peter Mackinnon said that their thoughts and prayers go out to the family and they are working with law enforcement to ensure appropriate action.

"Without exception, child protection workers believe in accountability. Whether systemic challenges or individual action, any factor that plays a role in a tragedy must be fully investigated and addressed accordingly," said Mackinnon.

<< MORE: Auburn toddler moved to rehab facility >>
<< MORE: Police called to Auburn foster mom's home more than 60 times >>
<< MORE: Wake held for Auburn foster child as police continue to investigate her death >>

No one has been charged in Avalena's death.

The news conference comes just three days after another news conference where Governor Baker discussed how they plan to improve DCF.