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Adoptive Parents Of Severely Abused Boy Testify For ‘Aiden’s Law'

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
Bill and Melissa Barnum with their adoptive son Aiden, age 6, who is unable to walk or talk because of severe abuse he suffered as an infant.

The case of an infant who nearly died from severe abuse has captured the attention of Washington lawmakers. The child’s adoptive parents testified Tuesday in favor a proposed law named in their son’s honor.

“Aiden’s Law” would require Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services to conduct a formal review in near-fatal child abuse and neglect cases.

The proposed law is named for six-year old Aiden Barnum, who was so severely abused as an infant by his biological father that he can’t walk or talk.

Melissa Barnum, Aiden’s adoptive mother, said she believes DSHS needs more accountability.

"Nobody did anything except promote the people who chose to send him back home and let this happen to him," Barnum said. "Other than that they just went about their usual business and it makes me very angry.”

The Barnums sued the state for failing to protect Aiden but did not win damages. They’re now appealing. DSHS says it’s improved its practices since Aiden’s case in 2008.