This case involves a 14-year-old boy who was sexually abused by his foster father. The boy had been in the foster care system for a total of 8 years spent in 3 different homes. The boy did not report negative experiences at either of his first 2 homes. After 6 months of placement into his most recent foster home, the boy reported to his caseworker that his foster father was abusing him. In spite of this report, the boy was not removed from the home for another 6 months. It was alleged that sufficient action was not taken to ensure the safety of the boy. An expert in social work with experience managing foster care placement was sought to discuss the procedures in place designed to prevent this type of incident from occurring.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your experience in foster care or similar systems.
- 2. What type of regular checks should be in place to look out for these types of incidents?
Expert Witness Response E-073184
I have 15+ years of experience in social work as a case manager, therapist, and supervisor. I served as the director of the residential and community-based programs division of a non-profit family services organization for 4+ years. During my tenure, I oversaw several programs, including intervention and residence services for children in foster care. In a previous role at another non-profit family services organization, I supervised caseworkers placing at-risk children in foster homes. I have experience in managing foster care audits. The standards in this area are straightforward. Foster care agencies must adhere to state requirements, and it sounds like that did not happen in this instance.
Expert Witness Response E-068820
I worked in the foster care system for nearly my entire career, dating back to the 1990s when I was a social worker and a supervisor for a non-profit family services organization. More recently, I served as the vice president and director of foster home services and adoption. I led the foster care division and turned the center into a top-rated foster care agency, as determined by the Administration of Children’s Services. I was responsible for foster care case management, so I am intimately familiar with the rules of the system. I was the senior vice president of a foster home and residential services at this center for 10+ years and later joined another non-profit family services organization as the assistant executive director. I would be glad to review the details of this case and can certainly identify any lapses in procedure. I also have courtroom experience from my early career when I was a social worker.