Los Angeles, California Foster Care Abuse Lawyers

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Los Angeles, California Foster Care Abuse Lawyers

According to Lilliput Children’s Services, a nonprofit provider of foster, adoption, and kinship services, federal data indicates that there are currently more than 400,000 children in the foster care system throughout the United States.

Child Abuse in the Foster Care System

Los Angeles, California Foster Care Abuse Lawyers

Here in California, Lilliput estimates that there are currently between 64,196 and 66,250 children and youth in foster care.

Some additional statistics pertaining to the California foster care system include:

Sex Abuse in Foster Care: Why Does It Happen?

  • 52% of the youth in the California foster care system are boys.
  • 48% of the youth in the California foster care system are girls.
  • On average, 50% of the children entering foster care in California will be placed with three or more families.
  • On average, kids in California who enter the foster care system will remain in care for 14 months before being placed with a permanent family.
  • 45% (less than half) of children in the California foster care system will be adopted.
  • In 2018, 4,313 children celebrated their 18th birthday in foster care.
  • Less than half of all foster youth in California graduate high school.
  • 75% of young women in foster care report at least one pregnancy by age 21.
  • Every year about 4,000 youth age out of care in California with no place to call home.
  • Half of youth who have aged out of foster care end up homeless or incarcerated.

As of 2021, the nonprofit Children’s Defense Fund estimates that a child is removed from his or her home and placed into foster care every two minutes in the U.S. Sadly, many children in the foster care system are often neglected and abused.

How many children are in the California Foster Care System?

Abuse In The California Foster Care System

According to the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) in 2010 there were around 60,000 children in the California foster care system on any given day.

Foster Care Statistics in California

  • This accounts for 15% of the national total of 402,378 children. Of the 60,000 children in the California foster care system. 13,167 of those children are awaiting adoption.
  • Many children in California’s foster care system experience frequent placement changes. Children who are in foster care for 24 months or longer 15% experienced 5 or more placements and 44% experienced 3 or more placements.
  • Children in foster care have experienced abuse, neglect, and other adverse childhood experiences that can negatively impact their health. In fact, half of all kids in foster care have endured four or more adverse childhood experiences.
  • California makes up for around 7% of the children in U.S. foster homes
  • 33% of cases reported are for children below the age of 5 years old
  • Roughly 4,000 children age out of foster care in California every year
  • In California, children enter foster care for abuse and neglect 12% of the time and “other” 88% of the time.
  • CLC serves the 35,000 children and youth in the Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Placer county foster care systems.

Foster Care Statistics in California

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How Common is Physical and Sexual Abuse in the Foster Care Abuse?

According to the Children’s Defense Fund, in 2019, 651,505 children were victims of abuse or neglect (a decrease of 21,643 compared to the previous year). Those figures mean that a child within the foster care system is either abused or neglected approximately every 48 seconds in America (1,785 times per day). That’s a truly alarming statistic, but as data provided by the Children’s Defense Fund indicates, foster care abuse and neglect is not only prevalent but systemic:

  • More than half of all child maltreatment cases in 2019 involved children who were six years old or younger.
  • 14.9% of those cases involved infants under 1-year-old.
  • Neglect, often a proxy for the consequences of poverty, was the most common reason for children entering the child welfare system.
  • Neglect was associated with a child’s removal in 63% of cases.
  • Issues related to unsafe or substandard housing were associated with 10% of child removals.
  • After steadily rising every year since 2008, the proportion of child removals in which parental drug abuse played a role declined in 2019.
  • Parental drug abuse is partly responsible for 34% of child removals, while alcohol abuse played a role in 5% of child removals.
  • A common misconception is that physical and sexual abuse are the primary drivers of child welfare involvement, though these serious forms of abuse factor into a smaller portion of cases.
  • Physical abuse was associated with 13% of removals, while sexual abuse was associated with 4% of children being removed from the foster care system.
  • Children spend an average of 19.6 months in foster care, with 14% spending more than three years in the system.
  • Children of color, particularly Black and American Indian/Alaska Native children, are dramatically overrepresented in the child welfare system.
  • Of every 1,000 white children in the United States, 5.2 are in foster care, compared with 9.9 of every 1,000 Black children and 16.9 of every 1,000 American Indian/Alaska Native children.
  • Nationally, Black children are represented in foster care at a rate that is 1.66 times their portion of the overall population, and in 18 states at a rate that is more than double.
  • American Indian/Alaska Native children are represented in foster care at a rate that is 2.84 times their portion of the population nationally. This disproportionality varies by state, however, with 11 states where the percent of the foster care population that is American Indian/Alaska Native is more than double the percent of the overall child population that is American Indian/Alaska Native, including one state where it is more than 15 times as high.

Children reportedly do better when they are placed with families – preferably their own relatives – according to the Children’s Defense Fund.

Sexual and Physical Abuse in California’s Child Foster Care System

A September 2017 report published by the Los Angeles Daily News highlighted the scope of the problem relative to physical & sexual abuse, neglect, and harm occurring in the California child foster care system.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, after federal auditors reviewed 100 cases selected from among the nearly 6,200 complaint investigations completed by the state agency between 2013 and 2015, California was given “bad marks” by the government on monitoring the well-being of children in the foster care system.

State officials were slow to investigate complaints of abuse or neglect, failed to notify investigators of serious sexual abuse allegations and didn’t follow up to ensure cases were resolved, according to an audit released last week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General,” the Daily News reported.

Additionally, the federal audit indicated:

  • In some cases of foster care abuse and neglect, investigations took more than a year to complete.
  • Such problems throughout the foster care system arose either because officials didn’t follow procedures or because they had not been properly trained to handle complaint.

The failure to complete investigations in a timely manner – noted in 78 of 100 complaints – is the most egregious finding in the report,” Bill Grimm, senior attorney at the National Center for Youth Law, wrote in an email to the Daily News.

What are the Warning Signs of Child Physical or Sexual Abuse?

Some common warning signs that may indicate an adult is harming a child include:

  • Does not respect boundaries or listen when someone tells them “no”
  • Engages in touching that a child or child’s parents/guardians have indicated is unwanted
  • Tries to be a child’s friend rather than filling an adult role in the child’s life
  • Does not seem to have age-appropriate relationships
  • Talks with children about their personal problems or relationships
  • Spends time alone with children outside of their role in the child’s life or makes up excuses to be alone with the child
  • Expresses unusual interest in child’s sexual development, such as commenting on sexual characteristics or sexualizing normal behaviors
  • Gives a child gifts without occasion or reason
  • Spends a lot of time with your child or another child you know
  • Restricts a child’s access to other adults

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) offers the following tips if a child reports abuse:

  • Listen carefully to what they’re saying
  • Let them know they’ve done the right thing by telling you
  • Tell them it’s not their fault
  • Say you’ll take them seriously
  • Don’t confront the alleged abuser
  • Explain what you’ll do next
  • Report what the child has told you as soon as possible

How Can I Report Foster Care Abuse?

How Can I Report Foster Care Abuse?

As Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) in-house Chief Investigator and retired LAPD sex crimes detective – Moses Castillo – notes, after empathizing with and supporting a child who comes forward with an allegation of physical or sexual abuse, the next most important thing you can do is report the claim to the proper authorities.

The vast majority of child physical and sexual abuse crimes unfortunately go unreported, and it’s important that claims are filed with law enforcement as soon as possible after a child makes an allegation. Once a report has been filed, you may proceed with a separate civil claim (in addition to any criminal charges that may be filed) in pursuit of financial compensation.

How Can I File a Foster Care Physical or Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

A California foster care abuse lawsuit can be a means of recovering financial compensation for past harm endured by survivors. Some damages that may be secured through a foster care abuse claim include:

  • Psychological trauma
  • Emotional harm
  • Pain and suffering
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Past and future medical bills
  • Past and future counseling or therapy
  • Reduced capacity to earn a living
  • Punitive damages (which are not capped in California)

If you’ve suffered physical or sexual abuse, neglect, or other harm while in the foster care system, you may be entitled to a cash settlement. To learn more about your legal options relative to a California foster care abuse lawsuit, reach out to a member of our team today for a free consultation at 818-322-4056.

If you experienced a sexual assault incident, don’t wait to file a claim. Contact our expert attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

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Los Angeles, California, Foster Care Physical & Sexual Abuse Attorneys

DLG’s four-tiered SAJE Team (Sexual Abuse Justice Experts) is dedicated to fighting for the rights of abused foster care survivors.

DLG’s founder and president, Sam Dordulian, is a former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. Our experienced team of foster care abuse lawyers have helped countless survivors secure maximum financial damages awards.

For a free and confidential consultation regarding your foster care physical or sexual abuse civil claim, contact a member of DLG’s SAJE Team today at 818-322-4056.

Our Los Angeles, California, foster care abuse attorneys have helped victims recover more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts while maintaining a 98% success record. When you’re ready to pursue justice on your own terms, we’re here to fight for you.

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