COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Andrea Mannino, 21, spent 14 years in foster care.
The death of 2-year-old Chassie Piertolungo of Pueblo brings back terrible memories for Mannino.
Piertolungo is a suspected child-abuse victim. The toddler's foster parents, Sarah and Paul Finn, were arrested last week and charged with child abuserelated felonies.
"They're very sick," Mannino said. "That's a 2-year-old little girl who wants nothing more than a loving family. I was hit, I was abused by my foster parents and my real parents. There's something wrong with them. That's an innocent child who's done nothing wrong and you can sit there and slap them around. That's not okay."
Mannino, now married, speaks publicly about her foster care experiences and believes many facilities here in Colorado need more inspections and better oversight.
"I really do think they need an undercover cop who looks, like, my age to go in these group homes to see what's going on," Mannino said. "I've been in foster care since I was 6. Throughout every home, I've seen things that need to be changed. We're children that have been abused, we're not animals."
Late Wednesday, the Pueblo County Department of Social Services said it's deeply saddened by what happened to Chassie Piertolungo.
The agency said the majority of the more than 50 foster families in Pueblo County provide a safe, loving, nurturing environment for kids.