Octuplets Mom Spurning Offer Of Free Care?

Early Show - angels in waiting - Feb. 20, 2009
An organization offering free, constant care for the octuplets born late last month and their six young siblings says it hasn't heard back yet from their mother, Nadya Suleman.

Angels in Waiting estimates that such care would cost $130,000 a month.

Suleman has drawn the wrath of many in California since word got out that her family will rely heavily on government assistance to pay for raising her kids.

On The Early Show Friday, attorney Gloria Allred explained to co-anchor Julie Chen that, "Last week, unbeknownst to Angels in Waiting, I contacted the Department of Children and Family Services in Los Angeles County. I filed a complaint to ask them to open an investigation into whether these babies, these octuplets, in addition to the six siblings, were possibly endangered because the octuplets are soon going to come out of the hospital. And the grandmother had indicated that she didn't think her daughter, Nadya, was capable of caring for them.

"At the same time, Angels in Waiting, a wonderful organization with a registered nurse, with prenatal care, neonatal intensive care for medically-fragile infants, had contacted Nadya, or tried to ... to say that this is what they do: They provide for the care of high-risk, premature, medically-fragile infants, and they would be willing to provide 24/7 care to these babies when they come out of the hospital. In fact, to the siblings, as well, with nurses and educational development specialists. And so, when Nadya didn't respond to this offer, which is so important to these babies' development, then we had a news conference and made that offer public to Nadya."

Allred pointed out that, "They would all be together in a home if the Angels in Waiting offer is accepted. If not, then they may be taken by the Department of Children Services, placed in foster care, all children put in different homes, and they won't get the care from public agencies because of budget restrictions that they would get from angels in waiting." Also, Nadya cold stay in the home with them if she takes Angels in Waiting up on its offer.

Angels in Waiting founder Linda West Conforti, a registered nurse herself, told Chen all 14 "kids would come in. We have a property that's set up. And that's why I contacted Gloria, because time is of the essence here. We have to -- you know, we have the property, but we have to make a home. It will take two days just to put 14 beds together, eight of them being cribs. And I was really concerned when I watched (a TV) special. I saw how small these preemies were. And I'm set up for it. I have occupational therapists. I have physical therapists. I have behavioral feedback doctors. It's all on board to help these kids.

"We're looking for donations" to provide the funds needed for their care, and for therapy for Suleman, Conforti added.

An infant developmental needs expert for Angels in Waiting, Jackie Peebles, says, "Preemies that are born at such an early age, they're two-and-a-half months early at this time, the brain development is so crucial. They need to be -- to have the care that they are going to have to be successful. Brain implanting that these babies need, you know, they need constant rocking. They need the same patterning so that the brain will pattern right and that they can start developing. If they don't, then a lot of the time, the statistics are out there that these babies will end up with failure to thrive and have other issues."