Articles Posted in Foster Care Abuse or Neglect

I read in the New York Times about a lawsuit on behalf or10 disabled Children fraudulently adopted by a Queens, New York woman more than 15 years ago. It is an extremely disturbing case. Anyone who loves children, swallow hard before reading further.

The lady used different aliases to adopt severely disabled kids (autistic, etc.) who clearly weren’t wanted by anyone else, then pocketed the support subsidies from the City, spent them lavishly on herself, all while keeping the kids locked up at “home” and out of school. Well, I guess you could say they got some “schooling”, but it was the school of “hard knocks”: They were caged, handcuffed, and beaten every day of their young lives.

The kids are now mostly in their early adult life and, guess what, they want justice. Wouldn’t you? Now mostly in their 20s, they are asking for money to pay for the psychological and other services and treatment they will need for the rest of their lives and to be compensated for their years of suffering as well.

Every year I give a lecture to other New York accident and personal injury lawyers across New York State on the issue of “Municipal Liability”. Before my lecture, I review the recent case law in New York on this issue. This is a complex topic. Suing New York municipalities (its Counties, Cities, School Districts, Villages, Towns and other local governmental units) is tough to do. The government has given itself all kinds of special defenses to lawsuits for injuries it causes through its negligence and wrongdoing.

Every year when I read the new cases, I find at least one, and usually several, cases of foster parent abuse, mistreatment or neglect of a foster child. What do these cases have to do with municipal liability? Usually, the County and its Department of Social Services are sued for having negligently placed the foster child in the foster home where abuse was likely to occur, or for having failed to properly monitor or supervise the foster home.

These cases are very tough for me to read. I love children (I have five!) and feel very protective of them. This year I read the case of Adam H. v. County of Orange, where the mother of a foster child sued Orange County and its Social Services Department when her four infant children were sexually abused while in foster care. All four of them!

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