Nationwide, more than half a million children are living in foster care. In California, which has the largest foster care population of any state, the number of foster youth has tripled in the last 20 years (AFCARS Report 2009). This rapid increase in foster care dependents has caused a number of unforeseen issues among participating youth, including homelessness, addiction, imprisonment, and abuse. Oftentimes, children just hoping to find a respite from the mistreatment of their previous family situation are instead subjected to abuse and neglect from the very people who offered to help. Children in foster care are physically abused at a much greater rate than the general population. The Department of Health and Human Services reported that the rate of child maltreatment in foster care is more than seventy-five percent higher than the general population. Paradoxically, these children are placed into foster care to protect them from this kind of abuse. Exposing an already traumatized child to an unhealthy environment can be permanently damaging.

Experienced Foster Care Abuse Attorneys

When foster children experience abuse, mistreatment, or neglect, they have the right, through a parent or legal guardian, to sue the foster parents for the physical and emotional damage they suffered. Because they are legally dependent on adults for protection, there is little they can do to keep themselves out of abusive situations. To make matters worse, there is no consistent legal remedy for the seeking of relief after they have been injured. The County has a duty to place the child in a safe foster home (Social Services Law § 398[6][g], to supervise the children while in foster homes (Social Services Law § 398[6][h]), and to remove the child from the foster home when necessary to protect the child (Social Services Law § 400). If the County acts negligently in any of these areas, they can be sued for the harm caused to the minor. Although the County and its agencies may also be held liable for their placement of the child in unsafe environments, they are often shrouded in heavy legal armor to protect them from these lawsuits. This protection, paired with the foster care system’s resistance to reform, can make it very difficult for children to get the help they deserve. By claiming violations of constitutional rights under section 1983 however, one acting under the color of state law is subject to liability if he or she deprives another of rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution (42 U.S.C.A. § 1983). This provides an effective avenue in which children can seek redress from the injuries they incurred while in foster care.

We Hold Abusers Accountable

Lanzone Morgan, LLP is fully committed to exposing the maltreatment of foster care youth and helping to hold both the County and foster care families accountable for their actions. We hope to offer our clients successful representation and assistance in making them feel secure and safe. Our mission is to ensure that the victims of this abuse are given protection, and we are devoted to providing the resources necessary to do so. Contact Lanzone Morgan, LLP online or call our office at 1-888-887-9777 to speak with one of our lawyers who will discuss your case with you. In your consultation, we will discuss any of the experiences and situations that have led to the foster care abuse as well as your legal rights, responsibilities, and objectives as to how to approach the case.