State to Pay Following Toddler Who Suffered Brain Injury in Foster Care

Child brain injuries are particularly tragic,because they often mean that a youngster will have to live the rest of their life with certain disabilities that they otherwise would have avoided. These traumatic brain injuries can arise in any setting where proper care and caution is not provided. When caused by the mistakes or abuse of a third party, it is often important for involved families to seek out legal options to ensure their injured child will have access to the resources they need to heal and recover from the injury as much as possible.

For example, The Republic reported on a legal settlement stemming from an incident where a toddler suffered a serious brain injury while in foster care. The brain injury lawyer who brought the suit argued that the child suffered brain damage and severe head injuries while in the foster care system. The injuries were caused, it is alleged, by abusive foster parents. The suit suggests that a state Department of Human Services employee and her supervisor should have known that the abuse was taking place and should have acted to prevent it. Their failure to do so allowed the mistreatment to continue, ultimately resulting in the severe injuries to the child.

The case was brought in federal court against the foster parents individually and the state via the conduct of the two employees at the humans services department. The suit against the foster parents who actually abused the child is ongoing. However, the state recently agreed to settle the lawsuit for $275,000; most of the money will be invested for the child to have access a eighteen years old.

Of course the legal theories underlying the claims against the foster parents and state are much different. The case against the parents suggests outright intentional abuse which caused the injury. Conversely, the claims against the state allege negligence on the part of the employees who had a duty to check up on the child and failed to act appropriately which contributed to the harm.

According to reports, the authorities were called to the foster parents’ house two years ago when the boy was found unresponsive in the home. He had intensive head injuries, and the foster parents claimed that he had fallen out of bunk bed. The boy, the two year old, was in critical condition, and it was initially unclear is he would survive. Fortunately, he pulled through, but not after being diagnosed with head trauma and an ulcerated liver. He required extensive hospitalization and rehabilitation. Later, state investigators blamed the injuries on the “abuse or neglect” of the foster parents, though there was no further elaboration on what that meant. It later came out that the state workers had actually noticed back bruises on the child a few months earlier. That care workers suspected abuse and reported to supervisors at the department of human services (who were defendants in the lawsuits). Those supervisors failed to do anything to check up on the claim. No investigation or even a house visit was conducted. The bruising actually became worse the following weeks, but nothing was done to keep the child (or his siblings in the same home) safe.

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