Foster parents plead guilty to criminal mistreatment of children, sentenced to prison

Danielle and John Yates, jail booking photos

A man and woman accused of severe abuse against their foster children pleaded guilty to criminal mistreatment charges and were each sentenced to 30 months in prison Tuesday.

John and Danielle Yates of Yamhill were arrested in March 2015. Deputies said their foster children, a boy and girl who were 4 and 5 years old at the time, were not given adequate food or medical care.

A special investigations unit reported the kids spent about a week in the hospital during the 2014 Christmas holidays after their condition was discovered by a relative. They were turned over to their aunt in December 2014.

Three Oregon Department of Human Services employees in the child welfare program were placed on leave following the arrests.

In March, a lawsuit was filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court against DHS, naming nine employees, as well as John and Danielle Yates.

The lawsuit states the children were chronically starved, isolated and physically abused while DHS workers "ignored clear and repeated signs of child abuse that resulted in life, health and soul-threatening consequences to the children."

The lawsuit alleges Danielle Yates claimed at different times the children's unhealthy appearance was due to them being born addicted to heroin or with fetal alcohol syndrome. The lawsuit states neither claim is true.

The girl weighed the same, 30 pounds, as she did two years earlier when she was placed in the Yates' home. The boy had gained one pound in those two years, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit is seeking $10 million for each child, with the option for a jury to award each child a total of over $60 million.

John and Danielle Yates were sentenced to five years post-prison supervision once they are released. Their original plea agreement was for a 20-month prison sentence, but due to the young age of the victims and the seriousness of the charges the judge increased it to 30 months.

DHS fired the chief operating officer for the child welfare and self-sufficiency programs and the director of the child welfare program in March.

This story was updated to reflect the 30-month prison sentence for John and Danielle Yates.

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