According to the latest statistics from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System Report (AFCARS), there are over 513,000 children in foster care in the United States. Of the more than 300,000 children entering the foster care system each year, the State of California has the most by far – over 45,000 children enter the system each year. Victims of child abuse account for 19% of the children placed in foster homes.
A child being abused in a foster care setting may see a number of people, all of whom have the opportunity to report the suspected abuse and save that child. You may be a relative of the foster child, a concerned neighbor, a teacher, a social worker, a guardian, a court-appointed lawyer or a judge – just remember that whatever your relationship to that child, he or she is depending on you to act quickly to help stop the abuse and neglect that is consuming his/her life. Not only is acting quickly in the child’s best interest, but it is also the law. Anyone who could have prevented the child’s injury or could have reported the suspected abuse before the child was affected could be held liable for damages if they fail to act.
It is also important for you to know that in many States, including the State of California, most health practitioners and child care professionals are required to report suspected cases of abuse or neglect in a timely manner. Failure to report is not only detrimental to the child in question, but can result in fines or jail time and being held liable in a civil lawsuit for physical injuries, disability, pain and suffering, medical bills, and future lost wages sustained by the injured child.
If you know a foster child who has been abused or neglected, please contact us immediately.