Foster Care Child Abuse Miami Attorneys
We Are Experienced Florida Foster Care Abuse and Neglect Attorneys
Children can be placed at risk for abuse and neglect anytime they are removed from their homes and placed in the custody of foster parents, relocated, or held by the State of Florida. Our law firm has seen this firsthand. We have seen children sexually abused, physically restrained, grossly neglected, emotionally abused, and wholly ignored by Florida’ childcare contractors – contractors who are paid tens of millions of dollars to protect Florida’s foster children. It is expanding problem and one we are committed to fighting head on.
We have represented multiple children in lawsuits against Florida’s childcare and foster care contractors. One case resulting in a $4,800,000.00 settlement. To read more about that unfortunate case, click here [press release]. Our law firm is proud of the work we have done in this area. We have exposed child safety issues buried deep within Florida’s foster care system and brought justice to families and children in Florida harmed by child abuse and child neglect. These lawsuits, we believe, shine light on serious childcare safety issues and help improve the safety and wellbeing of Florida’s foster care children.
Can You Sue Florida’s Foster Care Contractors?
Yes. Florida regularly outsources its foster care responsibilities to contractors and subcontractors. These contractors are referred to under the Florida law as “lead agencies” and “subcontractors.” Because the State of Florida enjoys sovereign immunity under Fla. Stat. § 768.28, it can only be forced to pay $200,000 when foster care children are harmed, no matter how heinous the abuse or neglect. Florida’s legislature recognized that this “cap on damages” was unjust and, so, enacted a law specifically allowing lead agencies and subcontractors – who actually carry out Florida’s foster care duties – to be held fully accountable when their culpable negligence directly causes harm to children. That law can be found at Fla. Stat. §409.993 and begins:
“The Legislature finds that the state has traditionally provided foster care services to children who are the responsibility of the state. As such, foster children have not had the right to recover for injuries beyond the limitations specified in s. 768.28. The Legislature has determined that foster care and related services should be outsourced pursuant to this section and that the provision of such services is of paramount importance to the state. The purpose of such outsourcing is to increase the level of safety, security, and stability of children who are or become the responsibility of the state. One of the components necessary to secure a safe and stable environment for such children is the requirement that private providers maintain liability insurance. As such, insurance needs to be available and remain available to nongovernmental foster care and related services providers without the resources of such providers being significantly reduced by the cost of maintaining such insurance.”
The clear intent of Fla. Stat. §409.993 was to “increase the level of safety, security, and stability of children who are or become the responsibility of the state.” A critical part of that, as recognized by the legislature, was to provide an avenue to full and fair monetary relief if and when the culpable negligence of Florida’s foster care contractors causes injury or harm to Florida children.
What Can Be Recovered in a Florida Lawsuit Against Foster Care Contractors?
This depends on the facts. Lead agencies and subcontractors who assist the State of Florida in providing foster care and related services can be held legally responsible for their negligence or culpable negligence where it causes harm to a child, but the amount of damages a child can recover depends in part on the degree of culpability. Where a lead agency or contractor acted negligently, “net economic damages shall be limited to $2 million per liability claim and $200,000 per automobile claim, … [and] noneconomic damages shall be limited to $400,000 per claim.” However, there are no limitations on damages where a lead agency or contractor acts in a “culpably negligent manner or with willful and wanton disregard or unprovoked physical aggression.” Fla. Stat. §409.993. In such cases, there is no limitation on the damages which can be recovered.
Our Florida Office Locations
Viñas & DeLuca is headquartered in Miami, Florida and has offices available for consultation in Miami, Boca Raton/Palm Beach, and Tampa. We have handled cases in multiple state and federal jurisdictions throughout Florida. Click here for more information.
Contact a Foster Care Abuse Attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured in a Florida personal injury or wrongful death matter, please contact Viñas & DeLuca for a free and confidential consultation by calling (305) 372-3650. There is never a fee or cost to you unless our law firm can recover money for you. You can also complete our Free Case Evaluation Form or easily chat with us online, and one of our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys will contact you right away. We are here 24/7/365 to speak with you and answer your questions. If you cannot come to us, we will come to you.