Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

Call for a free consultation (206) 340-2008

Alleged Child Abuse and Neglect at State Facility Results in Settlement Agreement

Posted Friday, December 15, 2017 by Chris Thayer

The Kiwanis Vocational Home served as a state-licensed group home for wards of the state for 25 years. The home, which was located in Centralia, closed in 1994. Former residents have accused the state and the Kiwanis of allowing the foster home to remain open despite allegations of physical and sexual abuse by staff and other residents.

There have been 13 claims filed against the state regarding the Kiwanis home. The Washington Department of Social and Health Services recently settled the first of these lawsuits, in which three plaintiffs alleged negligence, physical abuse and sexual assault. The department agreed to pay $1.5 million, equally divided among the three plaintiffs. But the settlement involves in admission of liability.

One of the plaintiffs says that he was sexually abused at the facility, and that his life spiraled out of control after leaving the home. He is currently incarcerated.

A Lewis County newspaper previously found 40 instances between 1986 and 1994 in which residents reported sexual or physical abuse to DSHS and no police report was filed.

Child Abuse and Neglect

Washington law defines abuse and neglect as “sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or injury of a child by any person under circumstances which cause harm to the child’s health, welfare or safety” or “the negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by a person responsible for or providing care to the child.” The responsible person could be a parent or a legal guardian (such as the Kiwanis home).

DSHS lists several signs that might indicate a child has been abused or neglected, including:

The caretaker might also exhibit certain signs that he or she has committed child abuse or neglect, including:

Moreover, if the caretaker and child rarely touch or look at each other, that could be a sign that something is wrong.

Children who are abused or neglected may be entitled to compensation for their injuries, both physical and emotional. All caretakers, including state-run facilities, owe a certain duty of care to the children in their care.

DSHS is responsible for investigating claims of child abuse and neglect. When the department fails to perform these duties, it opens itself up to personal injury claims like those filed by the former Kiwanis residents.

Contact Us Today

Contact one of our personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation if you or a loved one have experienced any kind of negligence or abuse in the foster system or another state-sponsored setting. Our experienced attorneys will help recover the compensation that you deserve, including medical expenses and pain and suffering.