In 1999, a Somali refugee was beaten into a coma by several teens, two of which were foster children with histories of violence. The refugee sued King County, the state Department of Social and Health Services, and Shell Oil, where the attack took place. A King County jury found the state social workers’ were negligent and contributed to the attack. However, on February 16, the Washington Supreme Court vacated the judgment against DSHS, ruling that a social worker is only responsible for preventing future harm to the foster child, and not responsible for protecting the community from foster children.
Although the judgment against DSHS was reversed, substantial recoveries were obtained from King County and the property owner, Shell Oil. Victims of these types of crimes should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss their options and preserve their rights.
For more information: Court says state isn’t liable for crimes by foster kids.