For many years the children in foster homes in the State of Texas have suffered much injury
and neglect. Sometimes that injury comes at the hands of other children, and sometimes at
the hands of adults. But either way, children in foster homes have the same rights and legal
protections as all other children. They are entitled to live in a safe, nurturing, environment, with the foster home parents and foster placement agency being responsible as their parents for their safety and welfare.
If the foster child is harmed by neglect or abuse while in the foster home the child has the
right to legal recourse and can sue the foster parents and the foster placement agency for
potential recovery of damages for their injuries.
In all practicality, this legal recourse will usually have to be taken by parents that ultimately
adopt the foster child who then hold the legal rights for that child until they are 18 years.
These lawsuits may be brought for the physical, mental, and emotional injury that the foster
child suffered while at the foster home.
In addition to these types of suits for specific injuries, Judge Janis Jack in the United States
District Court Corpus Christi recently ruled that a class action on behalf of approximately 12,000 foster children in the state of Texas for violations of their constitutional rights filed against the Governor, the Executive Commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission, and the Commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services will move forward in the courts. See Judge Janis’ Order of August 27, 2013.
This is the first major step forward in hopefully the State of Texas taking a serious look at
reworking the foster care system overall to protect children from harm.