Reporting Suspected Abuse or Neglect of A Foster Care Child
Millions of reports are made annually of suspected child abuse, and nearly one million of those are confirmed to be victims of abuse or neglect. According to a report published by the American Humane Association, approximately 12 out of 1,000 foster care children were victims of maltreatment in recent years. While the expense of abused children costs the U.S. an average of approximately $124 billion per year ($210,012 per child), the abused or neglected foster child pays the ultimate price as these victims spend the rest of their lives coping and coming to terms with all the physical and emotional implications that come with first losing their birth parents (by way of abuse, abandonment, death, incarceration, drugs, etc.) and secondly being abused or neglected by a system that was supposed to be designed to protect them.
More disturbing is the fact that most instances of foster child abuse and/or neglect goes unreported. Unfortunately, economic gain tends to be a material incentive for people taking on the responsibility of being foster parents or employees in child placement facilities. There are child welfare officials who have well paid civil service positions who have a vested interest in protecting their employment, which often times can be very lucrative. Sadly, the child welfare system is run by bureaucrats who are more interested in their salary and retirement plan than that of the health, care, and safety of foster children. Officials are protecting the accused and suppressing reports of abuse. It is only through audits and case readings associated with legal actions that abuse in a foster care system surfaces and comes to light.
The law requires mandated reporting of suspected child abuse or neglect, designating all social services personnel, legal professionals, law enforcement, criminal justice personnel, educator, and medical/health professionals to report any suspected child abuse or neglect. However, this alone is not enough to protect the millions of instances of abuse that go unreported.
Anyone suspecting a foster child is being abused or neglected should immediately contact the authorities. There are national, state, and local agencies that address the issue of foster child abuse and neglect and to whom such reports should be made. The California Department of Social Services website is host to a list of agencies to report suspected foster child abuse and neglect. Some of those agencies are: