San Francisco Foster Care Sexual Abuse Lawyer

 The foster care system is meant to be a short-term solution – a safe place for children to go while they wait to either be reunited with their families or adopted. Unfortunately, the system is deeply flawed and often fails, and foster children are the ones who suffer. One of the most egregious crimes committed against foster children is sexual abuse. These children deserve better. 

Manly, Stewart & Finaldi is a team of leading sexual assault and abuse attorneys who are passionate about pursuing justice for victims. We assist foster care sexual abuse survivors and their families in navigating the civil justice system. We offer free and confidential case consultations in San Francisco to anyone looking for more information or legal advice about this subject. Contact us today.

How Can a San Francisco Foster Care Sexual Abuse Lawyer Help You? 

Hiring a San Francisco child sexual abuse attorney is an important decision. If you are not sure whether you need an attorney, consider your adversary – the person or party you plan to sue for foster care sexual abuse. This could be the individual sex offender, but you may also have grounds to hold the government responsible. The foster care system in California is supervised by the state government and administered by each individual county. Going up against a government entity in a civil claim is not easy. 

An attorney can make it easier for you to protect your rights during an insurance claim or sexual abuse lawsuit against the government. Your lawyer can handle complicated legal processes and confusing paperwork while you focus on your future. Your lawyer will have connections to important resources such as qualified experts who can testify during your case. A San Francisco sexual assault attorney will go above and beyond to fight for the best possible results for your case, all while lending you greater peace of mind during a stressful time.

Foster Care Is a Broken System

The foster care system was created for the right reason: to protect the safety and welfare of children who can no longer live at home. However, systemic issues have led to a startling pervasiveness of child abuse and neglect in the foster care system, including heinous sex crimes committed against children. One John Hopkins University study found that children in group homes are 28 times more likely to be abused than their peers, and children in foster care are 4 times more likely to be sexually abused.

Children in foster care are in an extremely vulnerable position. While many people working in the foster care system do their best to place children in safe and loving environments, children often do not receive the support they need. Proper background checks and home visits may not be conducted, for instance, especially in a large city such as San Francisco that has a high number of children in foster care. Sadly, foster kids cannot be assured of safe placements. Many of them are sexually abused by the people who are supposed to be caring for them.

Many parties may abuse their positions to neglect, sexually abuse or harm foster children in their care. This includes foster parents, foster siblings, other children in the system (such as in group homes) and institution staff members. It may also include the victim’s own family members if a child is temporarily placed with relatives. Sexual abuse can be suffered by both male and female foster children, but it is more common among females. Statistically, young children under the age of 10 are most at risk of foster care sexual abuse.

What Are the Signs of Foster Care Sexual Abuse?

Many victims of foster system sexual abuse do not speak up. Silence in child sexual abuse survivors can stem from many things: being too young to understand or verbalize what is happening, the assumption they won’t be believed, fear of getting into trouble, fear of retaliation by the perpetrator, or the desire to not be uprooted again. It is often up to the adults who interact with foster children to notice potential signs of sexual abuse. These may include:

  • Physical injuries or bloody undergarments
  • Signs of depression or chronic anxiety
  • Aggressive behaviors or “acting out”
  • Regression to behaviors of a younger child
  • Nightmares, bed-wetting or trouble sleeping
  • Sudden changes in eating or hygiene habits
  • Unusual knowledge of sexual subjects
  • Inappropriate sexual touching of other children

The signs of child sexual abuse can change according to the age of the victim. A sexually abused teenager, for example, may exhibit different signs than a young child. If you suspect that a child in the foster care system is being abused or neglected by his or her foster family, report it to Child Protective Services immediately.

Seeking Justice for Foster Care Sexual Abuse Survivors in San Francisco

As a survivor of foster care sexual abuse, you may be eligible for financial compensation from one or more parties. Bringing a civil lawsuit against the person or persons who sexually abused you as well as a foster care institution in San Francisco County can help close an extremely traumatic chapter in your life. It can shed light on underlying issues in the foster care system and potentially lead to institutional changes in the future. It could also compensate you for several losses, including: 

  • Abuse-related medical bills
  • Therapy and counseling costs
  • Prescription medications
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages from being unable to work
  • Emotional distress or mental anguish
  • Diminished quality or enjoyment of life
  • Legal costs and attorney’s fees
  • Punitive damages, in some cases

At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, we are prepared to fight relentlessly for maximum financial compensation on a client’s behalf, even if this means going to trial. While we are aware that no dollar amount will ever suffice to make up for the sexual abuse you suffered in the foster care system, we hope that a successful settlement or judgment award can help you take even a small step forward.

Contact Our San Francisco Foster Care Sexual Abuse Attorneys Today

Some foster care situations become nightmares rather than safe havens. If you are a victim of foster care sexual abuse in San Francisco, you can take a stand with help from our San Francisco sexual abuse lawyers at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi. Attorney John C. Manly has represented over 500 clients in sexual abuse and assault cases around the globe. He and his team know how to help survivors in the face of devastating crimes against vulnerable foster children. Request a free and confidential case evaluation today by calling (855) 944-0710 for more information.