It hurts me to think that babies and very young children need to have lawyers to enforce their rights in my community, but it has been my experience.
One of my first CASA cases was a badly burned little girl whose cousin placed her into a tub of 161 degree (scalding) water when she was a little baby (because her mom was all cracked out and her diapers were 3 days old and very poopy & her 7 year old cousin could not know that the landlord had let the cold water pipes freeze & compensated by turning up the hot water heater to “scalding” to compensate).
My friend Bob mentioned that if this were any other child (and not a ward of the state), this girl would have some legal recourse.
In the end, as a CASA guardian, Bob helped me arrange a lawsuit & the girl was awarded the limits of the policy (almost 300,000 dollars). Not enough to compensate a now teenage girl with scales and disfigured legs that she will have forever, but perhaps a better education when she turns 18 and a memory that someone cared enough to make it happen.
I recently spoke in Indiana where 500 families adopted special needs children with the promise that the state would provide funding for education, health care, & other special needs services, only to find out after the adoptions were completed, the governor redirected those funds away from children into a fund to pay bonuses to state employees that cut the most from their programs. This is an example of a class action lawsuit that needs to happen.
Many states are making remarkably cruel and short sighted decisions about how to treat at risk children. These decisions continue to fill our prisons & juvenile justice centers with adolescent felons and preteen moms. If our legislators continue to pass boarder-line criminal legislation, they should hear from those of us that represent the children they are abusing.
Note to CASA’s: Contact KARA & the National Center for Youth Law with those cases you think deserve legal attention.
Youthlaw.org 510) 835-8098
Download the Amazon Kindle Version of our Invisible Children Ebook for 2.99 (support KARA