$16M lawsuit claims DHS failed to protect kids from months of ab - KPTV - FOX 12

$16M lawsuit claims DHS failed to protect kids from months of abuse

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Source: KPTV Source: KPTV

A $16.32 million dollar lawsuit filed against the state claims the Department of Human Services failed to protect three kids from months of abuse and even placed them with a foster family that did not speak their own language. 

The children’s biological mother says she wants the state held accountable.

The mother, who FOX 12 is not naming, said her kids were taken away from her after allowing them to be around a man she had a protection order against. But, she was allowed visitation the entire time they were in foster care.  In that time, she says her children were abused and mistreated in their foster home. 

“I do not trust DHS at all, whatsoever,” said the mother.

The children’s mother said her distrust in DHS began from the moment they placed her three boys, then just 7, 8 and 9 years old, with a foster family that didn’t speak English. She said that made her children uncomfortable. 

“I think what they did, was that our last name is Hispanic and it had to do with that, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask what language they speak, it’s clearly English,” she said. 

In the months that followed, she said things got much worse. Her boys began telling her they were both physically and sexually abused in that foster home.

“My middle son said, ‘no we can’t tell, we’re going to get in trouble,’ and the lady that supervised our visits was there and said, ‘no, you can tell, you won’t get in trouble,’" said the children’s mother.  “We were talking about it for 30 minutes. It was really hard for me, I went home and I was really, really mad.”

The mother said she reported this all to DHS, but claims they did nothing for months. She now has custody of her boys and is seeking justice for them.  

A $16.32 million dollar lawsuit was filed in Multnomah County Court against the state. The lawsuit alleges that as a result of the acts and errors of DHS all three boys were abused physically, sexually and emotionally. 

The lawsuit goes onto say that caseworkers had actual knowledge of the abuse, but failed to do anything. 

“I think that any person that would hurt any child needs to be accounted for, they need to be put in prison for it and I would like justice for my kids,” said the mother.

While DHS says they can’t comment on pending litigation, they tell FOX 12 there’s no policy that requires them to place children in a foster home that speaks the same language as them. Although, they do consider it.   

DHS says since this lawsuit was filed, they are now looking into how often this happens and are also questioning whether or not there should be a policy in place.

Last month, DHS fired two of its top officials and was hit with a separate $20 million lawsuit alleging caseworkers and executives ignored the severe abuse of two other children for two years. 

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