Male Foster Child Sexually Abuses Bio Child in New Home

As a mom who has one biological son named Sam (he’s six), this is my biggest fear potentially considering fostering a child through the Los Angeles County foster family protective services. This comes from the Los Angeles County supervisors who are pondering  whether to pay a half-million-dollar lawsuit settlement to a foster family.

In a county legal document commenting on the lawsuit, county officials wrote, “The certified foster parents allowed children to have unsupervised, unmonitored play behind closed doors resulting in the assault of a nine-year-old girl by a seventeen-year old boy.”

Through a spokesman, Principal Deputy County Counsel Lauren M. Black declined to say if the boy was criminally charged. The innocent  9-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by a 17-year-old county foster youth in her own home behind closed doors.

The little girl is the biological daughter of a certified foster parent, according to a county document. The alleged sexual assault occurred on May 30, 2009.

The document said all case-related work was in compliance with the policies of the Department of Children and Family Services, which oversees youths and children under county supervision, and there did not appear to be any countywide or other department implications because of the alleged sexual assault.

So far, the county has paid $223,072 in attorneys fees to defend against the suit. The discussion on whether to approve the $500,000 proposed settlement is scheduled to be made behind closed doors.

What do you think of this? Should the foster parents have been much more supervisory? Who can say in these cases?  I’d be on my toes with a 17-year-old foster boy in the house but we are also looking to foster a younger female but still…  It makes me and all foster parents shudder in fear…

Tell me your happy adoption or fostering story here!

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Back To The Adoption Diaries, by Nicole Dorsey-Straff
  1. by ann

    On April 7, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Don’t assume that just because you are considering fostering a girl that she would be any less capable of sexually abusing someone. it happens all the time.

  2. by Amy

    On April 16, 2012 at 11:02 am

    “Up to 50 percent of those who sexually abuse children are under the age of 18.”

    – (Hunter, J.A., Figueredo, A., Malamuth, N.M., & Becker, J.V. (2003). Juvenile sex offenders: Toward the Development of a typology. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, (2003) Volume 15, No. 1).

    When the Predator is Another Child–

    It is terrible that this happened to the 9 year old girl. While it is commendable that a family would foster a 17 year old, with younger children (boys or girls) I have to wonder what they were thinking. And, what was the agency thinking? Did they not know that a 9 year old was in the house?

    This happens no only with a non-family foster placement, but also with bio-related children being placed with family members who have young children. The most recent case I heard was of a 7 year old sexually assaulting his 5 year old cousin.

    I think that in the foster care system*, any foster parent, whether bio-related or not, should have an idea of the history of the child being placed and the potential risk. Some children should simply not be placed in a house with other children.

    *And I think you need to be just as wary about older children who can gain access to children via the parents running an in-home daycare.

  3. by carol

    On April 20, 2012 at 11:16 am

    there is no way in hell the county is responsible for this! this mother was out of her mind to take a child that old into her home with children as young as she has and leave them unsupervised.

  4. by Momof9

    On May 19, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    As a foster parent who has fostered over 30 children and adopted 5 of them, I have experience with these kinds of situations. It’s much more common than you think. Not only foster kids assaulting bio kids, but foster sibs assaulting each other and even step-siblings assaulting each other. Age is not a factor. The only way that the county can be considered at fault is if they placed the 17 yr old boy in that home while concealing evidence of past sexual behavior. We once had an 8 yr old boy placed with us that ended up being inappropriate towards our other sons. The county didn’t tell us until after he’d been in our home a few days that there was a risk of that because of what he’d been exposed to previously.

    When someone adopts a child, the county is required by law to disclose their entire history of abuse. But foster parents don’t get the same treatment. They are expected to take a child with just general information. We once had a 6 yr old girl placed with us and the county didn’t tell us until 3 DAYS later that she had a peanut allergy and needed to have an inhaler and an epi-pen for emergencies. And that was only because her older sister mentioned it to us and we specifically asked the case worker about it.

    That being said, sometimes the county doesn’t know the facts of the child’s history, either. If the child has just entered placement, the county often knows very little. But if they were transferred from a previous home and info already exists, I think it should be a law that they must tell the new foster parents before placement.

  5. by Cat

    On July 2, 2012 at 9:11 am

    I honestly believe that a good, careful foster parent would probably be more selective about fostering children while they have such young children already in the home. There are always risks, it is up to you as a parent to do everything you can to mitigate those risks. Why would you allow a 17 year old boy to play behind closed doors with your 9 year old girl? What interest could such male have in common enough to play with a girl that age anyway? The parents were negligent. AS for the county, IF the boy had a history of sexual abuse, they should not have placed him in a home with other children period. However, like the post above mentioned, the county is not always at liberty to divulge certain details with foster parents, which is why the county should take it upon themselves to follow certain guidelines to help mitigate risk also. If this boy had no previous history or no abuse to suggest he might be prone to this behavior, then this fault is with the parents. So sad, regardless.

  6. by Jaime

    On August 1, 2012 at 12:05 am

    I took in my cousins little boy who is seven. We have 5 bio kids. I have spoke with the grandma about issues the little boy had. He assaulted my 4 yr old daughter, I am sure you are thinking 4 yr olds tell stories my daughter told me specifics. She will be five and is very smart. Upon this happening I called CPS and told them he is not a good fit for our home. Talk to the bio grandmother who informed me that he did this at school last yr to a little girl. My husband and I are distraught from this. Does anyone have any advice on what would should further do?

  7. by Layla

    On December 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    An 8-year-old female foster child sexually abused our 3-year-old bio daughter. We asked that the foster child be removed from our home. The agency complied but promptly blacklisted us. I guess we bear some responsibility for bringing an older foster child into our home. Never again.