Foster Care Sex Abuse Lawyer

Too often adults take advantage of vulnerable children in the foster care system by sexually abusing them. If you were sexually abused by a foster care parent or similar adult, contact our sex abuse lawyers for help understanding your rights to possible compensation.

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Child Sexual Abuse in Foster Care

The foster care system exists to help children without a safe home or family to live with. Many children who enter foster care may have experienced trauma, abuse, or loss. Sadly, in too many cases they may face further suffering and abuse from caretakers who fail to protect them. While many foster parents are caring, responsible, and ethical, the foster care system often lacks the oversight, staff, and funding necessary to prevent instances of abuse.

The compassionate sex abuse lawyers of Edwards Pottinger are dedicated to protecting the rights of foster children who have been sexually abused by foster parents or similar adults while in foster care. If you or a loved one experienced sexual abuse while in the foster care system, contact the foster care sex abuse lawyers of Edwards Pottinger today for a free, confidential consultation.

What is Child Sex Abuse?

The CDC estimates that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys in the United States will experience some form of child sex abuse or molestation before the age of 18. Due to the fact that many children who are sexually abused are too afraid or ashamed to ever report it, experts estimate that the rates of child sex abuse could actually be far higher. Child sex abuse includes any form of sexual contact with a child, whether physical or non-physical. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) describes child sex abuse as any form of sexual activity with a minor, either physical or non-physical, because a minor is unable to legally consent to any form of sexual activity.

Examples of physical sexual abuse include:

  • Inappropriate touching or fondling
  • Kissing
  • Oral sex
  • Rape or attempted rape

Examples of non-physical sexual abuse include:

  • Masturbation in the presence of a child
  • Exposing oneself to a child
  • Taking or possessing sexually explicit photos or videos of a child, otherwise known as child pornography
  • Inappropriate sexual conversations with a child
  • Child sex trafficking

Why Does Child Sex Abuse Often Occur in Foster Care?

When a child is removed from their parents, the foster care system and its agencies that place children into foster homes have a duty to place the child in a safer environment than where they are being taken from. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Most of the foster care system’s issues stem from a chronic lack of oversight originating from various factors that may include:

  • Staffing issues: Many social workers have an enormous caseload that renders it impossible for them to properly do their jobs, while other social workers may not be properly trained. A lack of communication between social workers, foster care agencies, and the police is also an issue that may lead to cases of abuse going unreported.
  • Lack of funding: The federal government gives each state funds for its child welfare program. However, many of the organizations involved in a state’s foster care system are non-profits, which are not government funded, meaning they may lack the funds to implement processes that can help minimize abuse.
  • Lack of screening: Due to the lack of funding and the urgent need to place children who are in danger in foster homes, agencies often neglect to properly screen and background check foster parents. When agencies fail to properly screen a foster parent and abuse occurs, the agency could be held liable.

What Are the Signs of Foster Care Sex Abuse?

It can be difficult to discern when children are being sexually abused due to their reluctance to talk about or report it. Some signs that a child could have been sexually abused include:

  • Sudden changes in mood
  • Sudden changes in eating habits
  • Seeming distant or detached
  • Fear of certain people or places
  • Refusing to answer questions or talk about certain adults
  • Regressive behaviors like bedwetting and thumb sucking
  • Mimicking sexual behaviors when playing with toys or with other children
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Injury to the genital area
  • Increased aggression
  • Low self-esteem or self-worth
  • Increase in nightmares
  • Anxiety

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Foster Care Sex Abuse?

Childhood sex abuse can leave the survivor with lifelong mental and emotional scars. Some long-term effects of child sex abuse include:

  • High rates of depression and anxiety
  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia
  • Feelings of guilt, shame, and denial
  • Sexual problems
  • Relationship problems

Why File a Foster Care Sex Abuse Lawsuit?

Survivors of foster care sex abuse have another option for legal recourse besides pursuing a criminal case against the abuser. While a criminal case is intended to punish the offender, a civil case can provide the survivor with justice, closure, and the financial compensation needed to begin the healing process. Damages a foster care sex abuse survivor may be entitled to compensation for include:

  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Past and future medical bills relating to the abuse
  • The cost of therapy and mental health care

Who Can Be Held Liable for Foster Care Sex Abuse?

Foster care sex abuse lawsuits can be complicated due to the possibility of having multiple parties involved. Parties who could be held liable for foster care sex abuse include:

  • Relevant state agencies or nonprofits that may have failed to adequately screen the foster parents
  • Adults that were involved in the abuse, like a foster parent or a friend or relative of the foster parent
  • Caseworkers or social workers who failed to notice that the child was in danger

Why Hire a Foster Care Sex Abuse Lawyer?

Whether you are an adult survivor of child sex abuse, a parent seeking justice for your child who was abused in the foster care system, or even a minor who is advocating for themself, an experienced foster care sex abuse lawyer can help you by:

  • Working with authorities to ensure the child’s safety if they are still in the system
  • Investigating the circumstance of the case and gathering important evidence, including expert testimony, in order to build a strong case
  • Determining which parties may be held liable for the abuse that occurred
  • Negotiating with the defense to secure a favorable settlement
  • Representing you in a trial and fighting for a fair jury verdict if a settlement is not reached

Contact a Foster Care Sex Abuse Lawyer

Survivors of foster care sex abuse deserve justice for the heinous acts done to them. Compensation can provide survivors with the financial resources necessary to get the support they need to heal from the trauma that they endured. Holding sex abusers and the agencies and organizations that may have enabled them accountable can help prevent abuse from happening again and can provide survivors with a sense of closure.

The compassionate foster care sex abuse lawyers of Edwards Pottinger are nationally recognized for their work in representing survivors of sexual abuse and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on their behalf to date. Our sex abuse attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will not pay any fees unless you win compensation. If you or a loved one experienced child sex abuse within the foster care system, contact the sex abuse lawyers of Edwards Pottinger today for a free and confidential case review.

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