Children placed in foster care are no strangers to living in less than suitable conditions that pose harmful risks to their health and wellbeing. But, what happens when a child is taken from one neglectful or abusive situation and put into another — and how can they be protected? The answer isn't always so simple. However, knowing the victim's rights can bring their abuser to justice so they can get closure and move on with their life.
How Sexual Abuse Happens in Foster Homes
It's an unfortunate situation, and the abuser may not necessarily be their foster parents. Sexual abuse can come from the foster parent's children, other relatives, friends, or spouses. While appointed state workers are supposed to screen foster parents and follow up on care, the following reasons can cause sexual abuse to go undetected in many foster care cases:
- Low budgets for services
- Agency understaffing
- Lack of training for state workers and advocates
- Inadequate screening of foster parents
Sexual predators will often seek ways to get closer to their victims. When a child has no other family or trusted adult on their side, they are vulnerable to sexual and other types of abuse or neglect.
Signs of Sexual Abuse in Foster Homes
In some cases, sexual abuse may be hard to spot if there are no physical signs such as broken bones, cuts, and bruises. However, the following behavioral changes and other signs could indicate that sexual abuse is going on:
- Pain in genital areas
- Unexplained blood on clothes
- Poor school grades
- Poor school attendance
How to Report Foster Home Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is a traumatic experience, and the emotional, physical, and psychological damage is nearly impossible to reverse thus having lifelong emotional consequences.
If you suspect a child is a victim of sexual abuse or you've been a victim yourself, it's imperative to contact the authorities immediately. Blowing the whistle on the abuser will keep the victim out of harm's way as well as stopping the abuser from causing further harm.If you've been a victim of sexual abuse or suspect a child is a victim of sexually abused while in foster care, contact Levin & Nalbandyan, LLP today at (213) 267-3640. We'll advise you of the victim's rights and how we can help get you or your loved one to safety and proceed with getting you the justice and compensation you deserve.