Every year, nearly half a million children in the U.S. are placed in foster homes. Typically, these children are already at a disadvantage: The county has judged that they have suffered from neglect or abuse in their former home environments. For most of these children, foster care can be a safe home that allows them to flourish. Unfortunately, some children in foster care fall victim to abuse, and their cases can easily fly under the radar.
How Children Are Put at Risk
Though potential foster parents must go through a rigorous process of interviews and home visits to become licensed, it is still possible for abusers to slip through the net. Social workers may fail to conduct thorough background checks, or may fail to check in frequently with the child to evaluate his or her welfare. Since the child is in an unfamiliar environment, and sometimes immersed in a new culture, he or she might find it difficult or impossible to confide in an adult about the abuse that is taking place. Ongoing abuse can continue unchecked for months or even years. The highest proportion of foster care abuse cases are perpetrated by foster parents, but abuse can also occur at the hands of other children living in the household, or in residential homes.
Certain factors make certain foster children more vulnerable to abuse:
- Those with disabilities are less able to defend themselves or even speak about the problem, making them easier targets for abusers.
- Very young children are vulnerable for the same reason.
- Behavioral problems can mask underlying signs of abuse, with the perpetrator more able to hide the situation.
- Children placed in homes where there is a history of substance abuse and certain mental illnesses are at higher risk for suffering abuse.
Foster Care Abuse Attorney
If a child has been removed from the custody of his or her biological parents, it is a serious matter. It is utterly unconscionable if the child is then subjected to abuse in a foster home. The county has an obligation to ensure the safety and welfare of these children.
When the county doesn’t fulfill this obligation, an experienced foster care abuse attorney can play a crucial role in standing up for the interests of the child. If you believe your biological child is being abused in a foster home, you should contact an attorney immediately. At the Law Offices of Andrew Ritholz, we can work with medical and social work experts to determine the extent of the abuse, and we will be zealous advocates for the child. Our goal will be to pursue the full compensation to which the child is entitled. Contact us for a free consultation.