Saturday, January 21, 2012

Colorado Court Rules Social Workers Potentially Liable in Foster Home Abuse

Written by: James Swift

Earlier this month, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that social workers in Adams County may be held legally responsible for failures to protect children in foster care from abuse.

The ruling stems from a case involving a lawsuit filed by three siblings, who claim that social workers failed to safeguard them from abuse in their mother’s home, and later deceived their adoptive parents about the severity of their abuse history.

Prior to the ruling, the adoptive parents of the children unsuccessfully filed a separate suit against the Adams County Department of Social Services, claiming that social workers did not disclose the full records of abuse prior to their adoption. Last December, a federal judge ruled that Denver’s social workers could be sued, following the case of a 7-year-old who starved to death under the watch of his foster parents.

The ruling allows the siblings to proceed with their lawsuit against the Adams County Department of Social Services, on the grounds that their rights to safety were violated by county social workers.

The appellate court determined that the state’s division director of Child Welfare Angela Lytle, who supervised social workers Joan Forsmark and Cathy O’Donnell, acted “recklessly in conscious disregard” of the plaintiffs’ safety.

“The conduct put the children at substantial risk of serious, immediate, and proximate harm that was known to or suspected by Lytle at the time of the adoption,” the court opinion reads. “And such conduct, when viewed in total, is conscience shocking.”

Plaintiff attorney Jordan Factor said that the ruling could pave the way for major changes to the state’s foster home system.

“Each circumstance is a little different, and this adds to the mix of circumstances in which the courts consistently say that children in the custody of the state of Colorado have a right to be kept safe from harm,” Factor said. “It is a case that has an opportunity to do real justice.”



  1. My 8 year old is in foster care with her 2 year old brother foster care dora lee thompson refuses to supervise my son and my daughter told me about what happened i reported it and know david griegg and tessel stevens dr. hardestor beware of Community Reach Services if they refer you there they will lie for adams county in a heart beat

  2. To the poster who says its "complete BS": how do you KNOW? Hmmm? Do you live in the home? I doubt it. I do not live in that home with those children either, but it sounds to me as if you are getting mad and defensive because you're either a corrupt CPS worker, or an actual child abuser trying to save face.

    To the mother of the children: honey, i agree with you! Community Reach are not people you want to be involved with. They DO LIE, they DO STEAL, all for money. They do not care, they just want their money. They will ACT like your friend to your face and then twist things around. CPS and community reach are both corrupt and do major damage to families. Oh and the courts are in on it, too. Believe that.