Foster Care Errors Disclosed in New Jersey

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New Jersey state records made public under a court order provide graphic details of child abuse cases in which welfare workers ignored warning signs before catastrophe struck, the New York Times reports.

In one case three foster children were subjected to years of sexual abuse because the state failed to remove them from a home in which the father had been identified as a possible menace. In another, an 11-year-old girl and her 14-year-old sister were tied up, beaten with belts and hangers and sexually abused by other children in a foster home even after the foster parent had been suspended for prior abuse. In another, caseworkers did not remove children from a foster home run by a woman who regularly kept an 8-year-old child out of school to care for two younger children while she went to work.

The records released yesterday reflect errors made by the state agency spanning the administrations of Gov. James E. McGreevey and his predecessors, Christie Whitman and Donald T. DiFrancesco. After the body of 7-year-old Faheem Williams was found in a locked Newark basement in January, McGreevey vowed to bring sweeping reforms to the troubled child welfare agency.

New Jersey was ordered to make the files public by U.S. Magistrate Judge John Hughes in Trenton in response to a court action by The New York Times.


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