Senate Passes Ban on Rewarding Neglectful Parents

Senate Bill 474 (SB 474), introduced and sponsored by Sen. Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis) last month, would restrict neglectful or abusive parents from receiving settlements from the state if their behavior led to their children’s injury or death. The Oregon Senate voted 26-0 to pass it on Thursday March 7, and will now head to the House for consideration. 

“Parents who have severely abused and neglected or abandoned their children should not benefit financially from the death of that child,” said Gelser. 

The bill would still require proof that parents had been abusive or neglectful, but changes the requirement that the state prove the parents had been neglectful or abusive for at least 10 years down to only one year. 

The story at the center of this bill is about Gloria Joya, a 15-year-old Albany girl who died in state custody in 2016 from “untreated gastrointestinal issues.” Joya’s mother, Magan McDermott, received $130,000 as part of a settlement after Joya’s death, despite “overwhelming evidence…of neglect and abuse in her mother’s care.” 

McDermott is currently in Benton County Jail on suspicion of giving her 3-month-old son methadone, which nearly killed him.