Has your child been harmed in foster care? There are things you can do. Talk to a foster care abuse lawyer in Abbeville, SC, at Hite Law Firm Trail Lawyers. We represent children who have been harmed while in state care.
Children who have been abused in foster care may take legal action. A child may receive financial compensation. Taking legal action can mean justice, accountability, and answers. Ultimately, legal action may benefit a child and give them a path to healing.
We invite you to contact our experienced foster care abuse lawyers to discuss your situation. Work with the Martindale-Hubbell® AV-rated® team at Hite Law Firm. Our team of child abuse lawyers specialize in helping children, understanding their needs, and advocating for those who cannot speak for themselves. Call or message us today to talk to our team.
Lawyers for Children Abused in Foster Care
There are thousands of children living in foster care in South Carolina. Foster care should provide children with a safe and nurturing environment. However, too often, children are abused in foster care.
If your child is abused in foster care, our lawyers want them to have healing and justice.
At Hite Law Firm, we advocate for abused and injured children. With a focus on representing minor children who have been abused, hurt, and mistreated, we understand how to help children access the legal system. A legal claim is a way to acknowledge what has happened. A child may receive financial compensation that can help them rebuild their life.
If your child is a victim, we may be able to help. To see how a foster care abuse lawyer from Hite Law Firm can represent them, contact us to discuss your child’s situation.
Examples of Foster Care Abuse
Here are some examples of ways children may be abused in foster care:
- Assault and battery
- Sexual assault and sexual abuse, whether by adults or other children
- Preventing access to medication and medical care
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Death in foster care, such as drownings or suicides that could have been prevented
- Withholding food, poor quality food, starvation
- Caseworkers who have overwhelming caseloads
- Solitary confinement, cruelty, unusual punishment, discipline methods, and isolation
- Poor mental health care, lack of access to mental health care
- Emotional abuse, including insulting, demeaning, and threatening
Abuse in foster care can be physical, mental, social, or emotional. A child may suffer physical injuries like broken bones, brain trauma, cuts, bruising, and internal organ damage. They may have mental injuries, including anxiety, a decline in school performance, avoidance of social situations, and other harm.
If your child has been hurt in foster care, we invite you to contact us to talk about what has occurred and how we can help.
Legal Claims for Foster Care Abuse in South Carolina
Most legal claims for foster care abuse in South Carolina fall under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act, S.C. Code § 15-78-60(25). The law says that a unit of government may be held liable for gross negligence regarding the supervision, protection, control, or confinement of a student, patient, or client of any government entity. Courts have ruled this law applies to children in foster care, making gross negligence the standard for most legal claims for foster care abuse. (Bass v. S.C. Department of Social Services, 414 S.C. 558, 2015).
Gross negligence is the failure to exercise even slight care. It may also be an intentional, conscious failure to do something someone should do or intentionally doing what someone shouldn’t do.
If a child is abused in a group home or institution, the child may also have a claim against the group home itself.
Gross negligence under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act
In Bass v. S.C. Department of Social Services, a pharmacist accidentally mixed the children’s medication incorrectly, causing the children to need emergency medical attention. DSS removed the children from the home and declared the parents unfit.
Even though the pharmacy error became known, D.S.S. continued to make unannounced visits to the home for the rest of the year. They refused to change the official designation in their file that the parents had harmed their children. The family brought a lawsuit for gross negligence by DSS. They also sued the pharmacy.
Sometimes DSS fails to protect children in their own homes when the reports of danger to the children go ignored. When DSS is on notice of a danger to a child, they have certain duties and responsibilities under South Carolina law and DSS policy. Children in these cases may be seriously injured or killed if DSS fails to act to protect them from their abusive or neglectful caregivers. If DSS’s failures to act are shown to be grossly negligent, the child can receive compensation for his or her injuries.
Lawsuits for Foster Care Civil Rights Violations
In addition to a claim based on the South Carolina Tort Claims Act, a claim may be based on a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights violation. In Doe ex rel. Johnson v. South Carolina Dep’t. Soc. Serv., 597 F.3d 163, 175 (4th Cir. 2010), the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals explained that when a state involuntarily removes a child from her home, thereby taking the child into its custody and care, the state has taken an affirmative act to restrain the child’s liberty, triggering the protections of the Due Process Clause and imposing “some responsibility for [the child’s] safety and general well-being.”
When abuse occurs in foster care, the state may file criminal charges against those responsible. They may be charged with assault and battery, abuse or neglect of a minor, sexual assault, or other offenses. Criminal charges do not have to be authorized for you to bring a civil case.
Even if charges are not filed, or the charges are ultimately dismissed, you may still be able to take legal action under South Carolina or federal law. Our lawyers can help you determine the appropriate cause or causes of action for the abuse your child has endured.
Consultation with a Lawyer for Foster Care Abuse
If your child has been abused in foster care, or if you have questions about what has happened to your child while in state care, we invite you to contact Hite Law Firm. A compassionate lawyer from our team can discuss the specifics of your situation and your child’s legal options. We want to advocate for your child and their rights.
Call or message us today.