Birth mother blames son's near-drowning on foster mother

Panic and chaos was found at the pool at Summerhill Apartments on April 28th. A 911 phone call paints a clear picture of a young boy receiving CPR after being found at the bottom of the swimming pool.

Maria Sotelo says the baby that was receiving the CPR was her 3-year old son George Videla. She said George had been in the care of a foster mother named Maria Alvarez, and she's upset with Alvarez for allegedly failing to supervise George while he was near the apartment pool. According to a Kern County Fire Department press release, the 3-year old child almost drowned.

"I don't understand how my son could have been in the pool area without any kind of flotation device because my son's feet are in, he walks crooked. My son falls a lot, it's known."

Sotelo said her son suffers from cleft feet and is disabled. She said the young boy also has Pierre Robin sequence, which is when a child has a smaller-than-normal lower jaw, a tongue that falls back in the throat, and has a difficult time breathing.

Sotelo admits she hasn't been the perfect mother either. Four of her children, including George, is currently in foster care. She said she lost her kids after she was arrested for a domestic violence dispute.

She said, "I admit to my faults and I admit to what I've done wrong and I know I put myself in this position."

But, she said despite her personal downfalls as a mother, she wished Alvarez would have watched over George better. She questioned whether Alvarez knew CPR or not. In the 911 call placed on April 28th at 2:35pm, a dispatcher is clearly heard giving step-by-step CPR instructions to an unidentified caller, who apparently directs it to Alvarez.

Eyewitness News went out to investigate.

We contacted Foster Children Safe Haven, the foster agency that certified Alvarez.

"Every foster parent before we certify should have completed CPR first day training, regardless of whether they have a swimming pool or not. And, every foster parent with a swimming pool in the home or in the apartment building is supposed to have water safety training and certificate," said Mohammed Omar Hemali, the director of Foster Children Safe Haven.

Hemali goes on to add that there's an extensive background check and 12 hours of training before a person can become a foster parent through their agency. He said a parent can only have a maximum of six foster children at one time.

Child Protective Services did not return our calls. Eyewitness News attempted to contact foster mother Alvarez for a comment, but could not locate her.

Sotelo said, "I couldn't sleep for a while because I would wake up seeing my son drowning and then I felt like I was standing there, watching him, and I couldn't help him. It was hard on me."

According to Sotelo, the other foster children in Alvarez's care have also been removed from the home. Foster Children Safe Haven said it cannot comment on this case because it is still under investigation.

Sotelo said her son needs her, and all she wants to do is hold him in her arms.