Lawyers proved in court that Oregon's Department of Human Services failed to protect children who were formerly in foster care, and now the department is paying for its negligence. Representatives for a boy, now 10 years old, were successful in the civil suit against the state. As a result, the boy was awarded $2 million by a Multnomah County jury.
The boy entered foster care in 2002 at the age of 1, along with his older sister. They were under the care of a couple that had seven other children in their care within the doublewide trailer in which they lived.
The boy remained there until 2004, when the children were removed. During the boy's time in foster care, lawyers said he was abused and starved. An investigation uncovered the boy weighed more when he was 1 year old than when he was 3 years old.
The reason the state is being held accountable is because they received several tips on a child-abuse hotline from people who suspected the boy and the other children in the couple's care were being mistreated. The boy's older sister even admitted to DHS workers she was being abused, but that still did not force any action on the state's behalf.
The state finally acted when the boy's older sister was hospitalized with a broken skull. The DHS then removed the children from the couple's care. Lawyers represented the girl in a previous case, in which the two parties settled out of court for $1.5 million.
The woman was sentenced to five years in prison for her mistreatment of the girl, while her husband received two years of probation for his role in the abuse.
The two children, along with a younger sister, have since been adopted by one family.
Source: The Oregonian, "Jury awards former foster child $2 million from state of Oregon over abuse suffered at hands of foster parents," Aimee Green, Oct. 26, 2011