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Foster homes are intended to offer a safe, caring, and nurturing environment for the children they serve. Tragically, these expectations are not always met. When those entrusted to protect children betray this trust, the experience can be deeply scarring, resulting in traumatic impacts that may last for a lifetime.

If you were physically, sexually, or psychologically abused by your foster parents or in a group home, you may be entitled to seek compensation for the physical and emotional injuries you have suffered. However, there can be certain challenges in foster care abuse cases, including what constitutes abuse and who can be held liable, making the assistance of an experienced attorney extremely important.

Understanding the gravity of these situations and the courage it takes to confront such painful experiences, the Washington state foster care abuse lawyers at Fuller & Fuller offer a supportive environment for survivors to share their stories and seek the justice they deserve. If you or a loved one has suffered abuse at the hands of a foster parent, you are not alone. We are here to listen, validate your experiences, and provide straightforward legal advice on how best to proceed.

To schedule a confidential and cost-FREE case evaluation, please call Fuller & Fuller at 800-570-4878 today. Our Washington foster care abuse attorneys serve victims living throughout the state from our offices in Tacoma and Olympia.

If you are currently experiencing abuse from your foster parents, the first step you should take is to report the abuse to Child Protective Services online or by calling their 24/7 hotline at 866-363-4276 right away.

What Is Considered Foster Care Abuse?

Foster care abuse can take many forms, but is typically broken into three primary categories:

  • Physical Abuse: Physical abuse refers to any physical harm that is intentionally done to a foster child. It includes cuts, bruises, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and even death.
  • Sexual Abuse: Any sexual act with a minor is legally classified as sexual abuse. This includes physical contact, such as inappropriate touching and rape, along with non-physical abuses, such as an adult sharing sexually explicit materials with a minor.
  • Psychological Abuse: While physical abuse and sexual abuse are often seen as more directly damaging to foster children, the consequences of ongoing psychological or emotional abuse—including humiliation, verbal harassment, and more—can also be profound.

All types of foster care abuse violate the rights and dignity of their victims. They also contribute to a range of long-term challenges, including mental health struggles, difficulty in forming healthy relationships, higher risks for substance abuse, increased likelihood of criminal behavior, and so much more. Those responsible for foster care abuse must be held accountable for this absolutely unjustifiable behavior.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Foster Care Abuse?

In Washington state, various parties can be held responsible for foster care abuse, including:

  • Foster Parents: Foster parents guilty of abusing foster children face not only criminal charges but could also be held liable in civil court for the damages they have caused.
  • The State of Washington: The state is responsible for screening, training, and supervising foster parents. If it is negligent in this responsibility and abuse occurs, it may be held liable. The State also has a responsibility to investigate any complaints or allegations that are made against foster parents.

In addition to foster parents and the state, agencies and organizations involved in the placement and oversight of foster care may bear responsibility if their negligence contributes to the occurrence of abuse.

Proving abuse is not always simple. It may require a thorough investigation to gather evidence, witness testimony, and documentation. Victims and their families should consult with experienced legal counsel, like Attorney Marya Fuller, to explore all avenues for justice and compensation based on the specifics of their case.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim Against Abusive Foster Parents in Washington?

Washington extends the opportunity for victims of foster care abuse to file claims well into adulthood under several different circumstances. If you were abused by a foster parent, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred, talking to an experienced foster care abuse attorney is the best way to learn how to proceed with your case.

At Fuller & Fuller, we assist victims of foster care abuse navigate the legal intricacies of the statute of limitations, helping to protect the rights and options of survivors. Our commitment is to provide clear guidance and unyielding support to those harmed by foster care abuse, even if the abuse occurred decades ago.

Types of Damages That May Be Pursued

Survivors of foster care abuse may be entitled to seek various forms of damages through legal action. The pursuit of these damages not only provides financial support for the survivor’s healing journey but also serves as a form of accountability for the perpetrators and involved institutions.

Damages sought in foster care abuse claims may include:

  • Physical and Emotional Pain: Financial compensation for the physical suffering and emotional distress caused by the abuse. This includes pain and suffering during and after the abuse occurred.
  • Medical Expenses: Reimbursement for past, present, and future medical treatment related to injuries sustained from the abuse. This covers hospital visits, medications, physical therapy, and any other medical interventions necessary for recovery.
  • Therapy and Counseling Costs: Covers the expense of psychological support and therapy needed to address the emotional and mental health consequences of the abuse. Recognizing the long-term nature of psychological healing, this can include ongoing counseling services.
  • Lost Wages or Earning Capacity: Compensation for any loss of income or diminished earning capacity resulting from the abuse’s physical or psychological impact.
  • Damages for Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Compensation for the diminished quality of life or inability to engage in activities or hobbies enjoyed before the abuse.

The determination of appropriate damages requires a comprehensive evaluation of the abuse’s effects on the survivor’s life, both immediately and in the long term. The attorneys at Fuller & Fuller are adept at assessing the full scope of harm suffered by victims of foster care abuse and advocating for compensation that truly reflects the depth of their experiences. We work to secure outcomes that reflect the true extent of the harm endured, facilitating a path toward healing and justice for survivors.

How Our Washington Foster Care Abuse Lawyer Can Help

At Fuller & Fuller, our approach to representing survivors of foster care abuse is rooted in compassion, understanding, and a fierce commitment to justice. Attorney Marya Fuller’s experience and empathetic approach offer a safe and supportive environment for survivors to share their stories and pursue their claims. Our firm stands as an ally to those navigating the painful aftermath of abuse, striving to ensure their voices are heard and their rights upheld.

With our firm, you can expect:

Personalized Legal Representation

At Fuller & Fuller, we understand that each case of foster care abuse is unique, with its own set of circumstances and challenges. We take the time to thoroughly understand each client’s situation, developing a personalized legal strategy that addresses their specific needs and goals. This tailored approach ensures that our legal efforts are respectful of each survivor’s journey.

Comprehensive Evidence Collection and Case Building

A successful foster care abuse claim hinges on the strength of the evidence presented. Our legal team conducts thorough investigations, gathering all necessary documentation, witness statements, and expert testimonies to build a compelling case. We work closely with medical professionals, psychologists, and other experts to fully document the extent of the abuse and its impact on our client’s life, ensuring that no detail is overlooked.

Advocacy for Maximum Compensation

Recognizing the financial and emotional toll of foster care abuse, we aggressively advocate for maximum compensation for our clients. This includes addressing immediate needs such as medical expenses and therapy costs and considering long-term effects like pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and future care needs. We are prepared to take every action necessary to secure the compensation our clients deserve.

Experienced Legal Representation in and out of Court

Whether negotiating a settlement or advocating in court, we are tireless in our representation. With a deep understanding of Washington’s legal system and a commitment to justice, we fight for the best possible outcomes for our clients, ensuring that the voices of victims are heard and respected.

Support and Guidance Throughout the Legal Process

Navigating the legal system can be daunting, especially for survivors of trauma. Our firm is committed to providing comprehensive support throughout the entire legal process. From the initial consultation to the resolution of the case, we guide our clients through each step, explaining legal procedures and decisions in a clear and understandable way, helping to alleviate the stress and confusion associated with legal proceedings.

No Upfront Fees

Access to justice should not be hindered by financial barriers. Fuller & Fuller offers a free case review to all potential clients, providing an opportunity to discuss your case without any obligation. Our firm operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not charge any upfront fees, and legal fees are only collected if we successfully secure compensation.

Contact Fuller & Fuller for a FREE Consultation to Learn More

If you or a loved one has suffered from foster care abuse, contact Fuller & Fuller online or call us today to schedule a FREE case review. Together, we can embark on a journey toward healing, justice, and empowerment. Our understanding of the profound impact of foster care abuse motivates us to challenge the systems and individuals who fail in their duty of care, seeking not only individual justice but also systemic change to protect future generations in Tacoma, Olympia, and throughout Washington.

by Fuller & Fuller Attorneys at Law
Last updated on - Originally published on

Posted in: Foster Care Abuse