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SEXUAL ABUSE LAWSUITS

FOSTER CARE SEXUAL ABUSE LAWYERS

Nationwide Representation for Victims of Sexual Abuse & Molestation in Foster Care & Group 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.

Sexual Abuse by Foster Parents & Other Predators

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.

High-Profile Payouts Illustrate How Survivors Can Use Civil Suits to Secure Justice

A number of high-profile legal filings, settlements, and verdicts have illustrated how government-operated foster care systems, private programs, and other responsible entities can be held liable for failures to protect foster children who are sexually abused. These cases have served an important purpose in highlighting systemic issues within foster care systems and have shown how survivors can harness the power of the civil justice system to secure the compensation they deserve.

Some examples include:

  • In August 2023, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families agreed to pay $7 million to settle a lawsuit brought by four former foster children who were sexually abused by Raymond and Susan Blouin between the late 1990s to 2004. The suit claimed that DCF (formerly the Department of Social Services) ignored multiple reports of abuse and turned a blind eye to the unacceptable treatment in the home.
  • In July 2023, a New Mexico jury awarded $485 million in damages to an 8-year-old girl who was repeatedly sexually assaulted after a foster care program placed her in the home of a foster parent who had been accused of sexual assault. The case was one of more than a half-dozen lawsuits involving sexual abuse in the Familyworks and now-defunct Youth and Family Centered Services of New Mexico Inc. program, which was operated by Acadia Healthcare.
  • In September 2022, San Bernardino county agreed to pay $7.8 million to settle claims that the county foster care system failed to protect a child from sexual and physical abuse when it placed his older brother in the same foster home despite knowing about his previous abuse. The lawsuit also claimed that county Child and Family Services social workers failed to properly supervise the case and failed to adequately monitor the child’s condition.
  • In February 2009, the Florida Department of Children and Families agreed to pay $2.9 million to three children who were sexually abused by older children in a Nassau County foster home. The suit alleged that the children had been placed in a home with two known, sexually aggressive adolescents, one of whom had previously molested another foster child, and that the foster parents left the three younger children alone with the older children when they went to work.
  • In June 2007, a King County jury awarded $6.2 million to four siblings who were sexually and physically abused in foster care. The Washington jury found that the state acted negligently in licensing and supervising Pearl Hall, a foster care parent who physically abused the children and whose son sexually abused the three oldest children. State workers visited the home just three times in the first two and half years the children were in Hall’s care, despite rules requiring visits every 30 days.

Liability in Foster Care Sex Abuse Cases

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.

Don’t Wait to Take Action – Call Now

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 or submit an email inquiry.

    S-477 was signed into law by the Governor of New Jersey on March 13, 2019. Similar legislation has been passed in 11 states as of May 2019, and several other states are considering comparable reform. The legislation follows the announcement that New Jersey’s five Roman Catholic dioceses revealed the identity of 188 priests accused of abusing minors, thereby prompting the creation of a victim’s compensation fund.

    New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program

    The New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation (IVC) program established by New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses began accepting claims from victims of sexual abuse on June 15, 2019. The IVC program was designed to compensate individuals who were sexually abused as children or young adults by diocesan priests of the Roman Catholic dioceses of Newark, Paterson, Metuchen, Trenton and Camden. The fund compensates victims for abuse in churches and schools that largely occurred decades ago. Compensation through the fund comes directly and exclusively from the Church’s finances.

    The IVC program is administered by Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros, compensation experts who have been instrumental in administering other high-profile compensation programs for victims of the Catholic dioceses and 9/11. The IVC program, like its predecessors, is viewed by many as an effective alternative to litigation. It allows victims to handle their claims in an efficient manner and mandates a lower standard of proof than would be required in a courtroom. Moreover, the church is prohibited from challenging any compensation decisions made by the administrators including determinations of eligibility and compensation amounts. Sexual abuse victims sign a release agreeing not to bring future litigation only if they accept the award offered by the IVC fund. The IVC program will end on December 31, 2019.

    Levy Konigsberg LLP is a nationally recognized law firm that has handled all types of negligence cases for more than three decades. If you or a member of your family has been the victim of sexual abuse, please contact our lawyers for a free consultation by calling or submit an email inquiry.

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