DCF settles federal abuse suit

Foster children were sexually abused by other kids in home

By Paul Pinkham

Feb 2, 2009 /  Jacksonville.com

The Florida Department of Children and Families has settled all claims with three children who were abused by other children living in their Nassau County foster home, attorneys announced this afternoon.

The settlements total $2.9 million and follow a groundbreaking ruling in December by a federal appeals court in Atlanta that upheld their right to sue on grounds that DCF was "deliberately indifferent" to the danger they were in.

"This decision represents a landmark win in the fight to protect all foster children from child-on-child sexual abuse in foster care," said attorney Brian Cabrey, who represented the victims. He said it was the first case nationally to recognize the rights of foster children to be protected from child-on-child abuse.

According to the lawsuit, the three pre-school-aged children were left unsupervised with two teenage foster kids known to be sexually aggressive and were repeatedly molested by the teens.

For more on the settlement, see Tuesday's Times-Union and check back later today with Jacksonville.com.

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