- Associated Press - Friday, June 20, 2014

BUNKER HILL, Kan. (AP) - A 54-year-old Kansas foster mother faces a felony charge of endangering a child after one of the teenagers under her care said they drank milk laced with bleach to “clean up” urine samples of marijuana traces, authorities said Friday.

Russell County Attorney Daniel Krug said that Pam Pertl of Bunker Hill was charged Thursday with misdemeanor marijuana possession, felony distribution of marijuana and felony aggravated endangerment of a child.

The Russell County Sheriff’s department said in a press release Thursday that deputies were called June 5 after a social worker and state officials reported Pertl and three foster teens in her care tested positive for marijuana. Undersheriff Max Barrett told The Associated Press on Friday that Pertl and two of her foster teens tested positive for marijuana, a third juvenile tested negative and a fourth was not involved. All four juveniles have been placed elsewhere.

The department did not release juveniles’ names or ages, but said they were female teenagers who had been living with Pertl in Bunker Hill, a town of about 100 residents in central Kansas.

Barrett said one of the teens told the social worker that Pertl and the teens also drank milk mixed with bleach to try to mask their urinary drug samples.

“They were trying to use the bleach to be able to clean up their UA,” their urinary analysis samples, Barrett said.

It was unclear Friday if Pertl had a lawyer. Calls to a phone listing under Pertl’s name were not answered Friday.

The sheriff’s department has been aware of Pertl as a longtime foster care provider and has had issues with her before, Barrett said.

“She is a foster mom who we have had a lot of trouble with, and in the last year we’ve had a numerous number of runaways from her home, so it’s a person we’re very familiar with,” Barrett said.

Theresa Freed, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Children and Families, said in an email Friday she could not comment on cases, but said foster parents “are held to high standards.”

“If it is determined a foster home is unsafe, children will no longer be placed there,” Freed said. “Any report of abuse or neglect made to the Department for Children and Families is taken seriously.” Krug said.

Pertl was released Thursday on $40,000 bond. Her next court appearance is scheduled for July 10.

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