If you were physically, sexually, or psychologically abused by your foster parents or in a group home, you can sue. However, it is very important that you understand some of the challenges in foster care abuse cases, including what constitutes abuse, who can be held liable, what must be proven in a foster abuse case, and how an attorney can help.
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 as soon as possible using their 24/7 hotline.
Attorney Marya Fuller is a foster care abuse lawyer who has helped clients with a variety of claims in Olympia and across Washington for decades. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to Fuller & Fuller for a FREE case review.
What Constitutes Foster Care Abuse?
Foster care abuse can take many forms, all of them serious and all of them with the potential to cause long-term challenges for the abused.
Generally, foster care and group home abuse is broken into three primary categories:
- Physical abuse: Physical abuse refers to any physical harm that is intentionally done to a foster child. It can result in cuts, bruises, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and even death.
- Sexual abuse: Any sexual act with a minor is legally classified as sexual abuse, whether it involved physical contact, such as inappropriate touching or rape, or not, such as an adult sharing sexually explicit photos with a minor.
- Psychological abuse: While physical abuse and sexual abuse are more directly damaging to foster children, the consequences of ongoing psychological or emotional abuse – including humiliation, verbal harassment, and more – can also be very serious.
Each of these types of abuse can result in lifelong difficulties, including mental health struggles, relationship challenges, criminal behavior, health problems, substance abuse, and more.
This is why it is so important that those responsible for foster care abuse are held accountable for their negligence.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Foster Care Abuse?
In Washington state, various parties can be held responsible for foster care abuse, including:
- The 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 they neglect this responsibility, and it leads to abuse, they may be held liable for the abuse. The State also has a responsibility to investigate any complaints or allegations that are made against foster parents.
Who is ultimately responsible for the abuse and how you should move forward depends a great deal on the specifics of your situation. Therefore, you should always consult with an experienced foster care abuse attorney who can help if you have been abused. Proving abuse is not always simple. It may require a thorough investigation to gather evidence, witness testimony, and more.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
The first thing a lawyer brings to the table is legal knowledge. Figuring out who to hold responsible for foster care abuse is a challenging question that requires a deep understanding of the relevant laws and statutes of limitation. Even if the abuse happened many years ago, you may still have a claim; call and find out if your claim is still viable.
Beyond that, attorneys can help prove the abuse, pulling together the evidence and context needed to explain and demonstrate what you experienced. They can also fight for justice and the compensation you deserve, using their past experience and legal precedent to calculate how much compensation you should fight for.
Above all, a lawyer understands each piece of this puzzle and can help you navigate a complex legal system to help right the wrongs that were done and hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
If you have suffered through foster care abuse, or abuse in a group home, we sympathize a great deal with your situation – and we are here to help. Throughout our decades of service, we have seen the long-term effects this type of abuse can have on individuals, and we are passionate about fighting for your rights.
To get started, please give us a call at (800) 570-4878 for a FREE case review. Our foster care abuse attorneys serve clients in Olympia, Tacoma, Shelton, Centralia, Aberdeen, and other areas of Washington.