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Octuplets mom agrees to outside help for her kids

CALIFORNIA'S octuplets mom agreed to allow a nursing charity to provide care for her eight newborns and six older children for at least six months, US television therapist Dr. Phil McGraw said yesterday.

Under the agreement between Nadya Suleman and the philanthropic foundation Angels in Waiting, she and all 14 of her children will live together in a new home near her current one in suburban Los Angeles, a spokeswoman for McGraw said.

The nonprofit "initially will be providing around-the-clock services of skilled neonatal intensive care nurses who specialize in premature infant developmental care," a statement from his nationally syndicated TV show, "Dr. Phil," said.

The statement said the services would begin "as soon as the octuplets are released from the hospital and will be reevaluated every six months."

Suleman first made headlines Jan. 26 when she gave birth to six boys and two girls, delivered 9 1/2 weeks premature, at the Kaiser Permanent Medical Center in suburban Los Angeles. Only the second known set of octuplets born alive in the United States, they were initially hailed as a medical triumph.

But Suleman become a lightning rod for public ridicule after it was learned that she was a divorced, jobless mother of six living with her parents on government assistance when she became pregnant with octuplets through in vitro fertilization.

The statement said Suleman, who has been living with her six older children, aged 2 to 7, in her mother's three-bedroom house, had found "a suitable new home" for her family, and Angels in Waiting will help her "prepare the house properly to meet the children's needs."

According to the news website, a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house with a large backyard is being purchased for the family by Suleman's father, with a "substantial down payment" coming from funds Suleman obtained in recent weeks.

"Dr. Phil," which scored strong ratings with a two-part interview of Suleman last month, said McGraw would reveal further details of the plan he helped broker in broadcasts set for Tuesday and Wednesday.

"Nadya realized that she had to make every effort to care for the octuplets as well as the six children at home in a way that proved that she understood the enormity and complexity of the task ahead," McGraw said in a statement. "The plan in place ... affords all of the Suleman children a chance to grow and thrive."

McGraw became involved in discussions between Suleman and Angels in Waiting after she confided to him fears of not being allowed to take her newborns home from the hospital until she could prove she had the means to care for them.

Gloria Allred, a Los Angeles lawyer representing Angels in Waiting, has said she asked child welfare authorities to review Suleman's case after the mother rebuffed an initial offer of help from the agency.


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