Wednesday, September 30, 2009

DSHS Settles Suit Over 2 Abused Foster Kids

(Thank you, Cheryl, for send this to us.)

DSHS settles suit over 2 abused foster kids
A lawsuit filed against the state Department of Social and Health Services on behalf of two children who were sexually abused by their state-licensed foster parents has been settled for $2.5 million, according to DSHS officials and the children's attorney.

By Christine Clarridge
Seattle Times staff reporter

A lawsuit filed against the state Department of Social and Health Services on behalf of two children who were sexually abused by their state-licensed foster parents has been settled for $2.5 million, according to DSHS officials and the children's attorney.

The lawsuit claimed that DSHS failed to properly "interview, screen and thoroughly research the background and qualifications" of James Harvey Posey and Winnifred Posey before placing two children in their Vancouver, Wash., home.

According to the lawsuit filed last year in Clark County Superior Court, the two children, then ages 3 and 6, were placed with the Poseys for seven months beginning in December 2003. During that time, the lawsuit claims, they were physically and sexually abused.

"The whole case just wasn't handled well," according to Seattle attorney James S. Rogers, who filed the suit on the children's behalf.

Rogers said that Posey had a history that included criminal convictions in Oregon, mental-health issues that necessitated a stint at Western State Hospital and complaints to DSHS' Child Protective Services from his own child.

"The state had a record of [Posey's] daughter, who was 13 at the time, calling CPS to report that her dad was beating her and her mother was striking her in the face," Rogers said. "But the investigator never even talked to her."

Further, according to Rogers, the state placed the two young children with the Poseys even though they had only been licensed to care for one child between the ages of 8 and 12 years.

Two months after the children were placed with the Poseys, Rogers said, the state missed another opportunity to protect the children when they failed to speak with educators at the 6-year-old's school who had called CPS to report the child had marks on her neck that she claimed were made by her foster father.

Sherry Hill, a spokeswoman for CPS, said the state has since changed the way it investigates prospective foster parents.

In 2003, when the Poseys were licensed, the state did national fingerprint-based checks only on prospective foster parents who had lived in Washington state for less than three years.

Two years ago, with implementation of the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection Safety Act, the state began running FBI fingerprint background checks on all potential foster parents, Hill said.

James Posey, now 60, was charged in 2005 with rape of a child, child molestation and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

He pleaded guilty the following year to two counts of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes and was sentenced to three months in jail. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.

Posey could not be reached for comment.

DSHS spokesman Steve Williams said the settlement was agreed to in July.

"It was made in the best interests of all parties, to spare the children the trauma of testifying and to avoid the high cost of further litigation," he said.

Williams said the children, who are now 9 and 11 years old, are in a "stable, loving home with relatives in another state."

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or


Anonymous said...

Will they ever learn? And when will each person responsible for this abuse be obligated to personally pay these damages...not the taxpayers?

strawberryblonde said...

I was thrilled to see that "family" members were found for the children.

Anonymous said...

The problem with background checks are a criminal is not a criminal unless they have been caught. So a background check really does not insure the safety of children. there are some felons that are not even a danger to children. Some of them have changed their lives around and have become upstanding citizens. Thirty and forty year old non child abuse convictions and CPS refferals are used against loving relative in placement conciderations as an automatic disqualifion. even if the refferal was unfounded

Anonymous said...

Criminal backgrounds and evidence of child abuse with their own biological children, aren't these the same excuses the Department uses to keep children from being placed with relatives, "In the Best Interest of the Children!" The actions don't adhere to policy, procedure, and legislation.

Anonymous said...

Pretty interesting; I know biological relatives, biological parents and biological grandparents who had no criminal history and who were outstanding citizens who lost a relative and/or child to CPS.

Anonymous said...

Williams said at the end..."the children are with relatives in a loving stable home". My question is, why weren't the children placed with relatives in the first place? Just like in the Stuth case, they put the family and their poor little granddaughter through all that trauma, and for what? SICK!!! shame on you dshs.

Lovingfitfather said...

CPS children's nightmare that they will never wake up from.