More than 60,000 children live in foster care throughout the state of California. According to the Alliance for Children’s Rights, about 38% of these children reside in Los Angeles County. While most foster parents provide supporting and loving households for children in need, there are still far too many instances of sexual abuse within the foster care system. Instead of caring for at-risk youth, some individuals use the system as a method of gaining access to vulnerable youth and taking advantage of them sexually.
Foster children more likely to experience sexual abuse
Foster care is considered a major risk factor for child sexual abuse. Child advocacy organization Darkness to Light found that foster children are 10 times more likely to be sexually abused than children who reside with both of their biological parents. This troubling statistic demonstrates a widespread problem, and a lack of adequate oversight by agencies who negligently place children in abusive homes.
Foster care agencies have a duty to mitigate the risk of sexual abuse within a foster home. This is done through extensive background checks and candidate screening. It is also accomplished through ongoing contact with the child, as well as the foster parent. Knowledgeable Los Angeles child sexual abuse attorneys know that many agencies fail to meet this duty for numerous reasons, including overworked social workers and understaffing. When this happens, innocent children may be placed into homes where the very people who are supposed to be protecting them become their abusers.
Sexual abuse can lead to sexually aggressive children
Childhood sexual abuse can create a cycle of abusive behaviors, particularly as children emulate the characteristics and actions of their abusers. The National Institute of Health conducted a study of 155 female children and adolescents who were in foster care. These children were chosen due to the sexually abusive and aggressive behaviors they frequently demonstrated. Researchers found that 81% of the girls were sexually abused themselves and 68% suffered abuse at the hands of more than one person. Each of the children demonstrated some form of sexually inappropriate behavior, including:
- Sexually abusive acts towards other children
- Exposing themselves
- Sexually aggressive statements
- Sexual touching of peers
- Sexual touching of younger children
At Taylor & Ring, our lawyers believe that all children deserve to grow up in safe environments, free from the trauma and pain of sexual abuse. That is why we work hard to hold abusers accountable for their atrocious actions. If you need legal guidance for a sexual abuse case, call us today at 310-776-6390 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with a seasoned Los Angeles sexual abuse attorney.