Sexual Abuse in Foster Care Homes
A child who does not have a home or is living in an unstable home may be placed in foster care or in a group home. Foster care is often a temporary solution when parents are involved in a difficult situation that can later be rectified. Other times, children are placed in foster care for longer periods of time when they have been exposed to ongoing violence or sexual assault at home. Sadly, many children who are removed from their homes and placed in foster care are re-victimized in temporary homes. Experts report that children in foster care are four times more likely to be sexually abused than children in other home settings. In group homes, children are 28 times more likely to be abused than children living in other types of homes.
In cases of children who have been placed in foster care, sexual abuse may be difficult to detect. Some of these children have faced significant trauma already as a result of being displaced. Perpetrators of abuse in foster homes may threaten retribution if the victim reveals the abuse. Foster care children are often reluctant to report abuse due to fear of expulsion from the current home to a potentially more dangerous situation. Unlike other children who may eventually confide in a trusted adult, children in foster homes typically do not have a parent or other adult to support them. Foster kids are therefore highly susceptible to sexual abuse because they do not have access to trusted adults to whom they can report sexual assault and seek assistance.
The conditions in foster care may also create an atmosphere that is ripe for criminal activity against foster children. Group homes in particular are often understaffed, underfunded, and inadequately supervised. Workers employed by the state may fail to thoroughly screen foster parents and properly oversee the quality of care at the foster homes in which children are placed. Sexual predators often exploit these types of situations to sexually assault children in foster homes.
The state and any company that it subcontracts with to provide foster care services are obligated to protect children under their supervision. This includes ensuring that children are placed in homes that are secure, adequately managed, and regularly monitored. The failure to ensure the safety of foster care children takes an enormous toll on an already susceptible population and can lead to years and decades of trauma for victims. Foster children who have been sexually abused can now file civil lawsuits under new laws passed in New York, New Jersey and other states, which permit claims for sexual abuse of a child no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. These claims may be brought for a limited amount of time; therefore, it is important to seek assistance immediately to pursue justice for your injuries.
Levy Konigsberg LLP is a nationally recognized law firm that has recovered millions of dollars in settlements for victims of sexual abuse. If you or a member of your family has been the victim of sexual misconduct while living in a foster home, please contact our lawyers for a free consultation by calling 1-800-988-8005 or submit an email inquiry on this page.