Social Services Abuse and Negligence FAQs

Here are common questions people often have about social services negligence. If you have any questions, contact us at 800-529-7285. We offer a free case consultation.

Nationwide, social services agencies are exhausted by a demanding workload that can, unfortunately, lead to neglectful decision-making or oversights. In some cases, the social services agency may contract out the work. For example, a private agency gets paid for placing a foster child, so the profit-driven agency might not conduct a proper background check of a prospective foster family. The consequences can be grave if the parents have a criminal record or a known history of abuse or neglect. When children or families get hurt, it is usually because the foster care agency:

  • Did not complete necessary background checks
  • Do not properly monitor the homes
  • Do not investigate reports of suspected child abuse or neglect
  • Do not act when there is evidence of abuse or neglect
  • Placed children with people who are not able to care for them because of physical or financial difficulties
  • Physical Abuse
    • Striking, kicking, or shaking a child
    • Burning or scalding a child
    • Throwing objects at a child
    • Holding a child underwater
  • Emotional/Psychological Abuse
    • Constant criticism of a child
    • Belittling a child
    • Making threats of punishment or physical harm
    • Withholding love, support, or guidance
  • Sexual Abuse
    • Sexual intercourse
    • Fondling
    • Indecent exposure in front of a child
    • Forcing a child to undress
    • Showing a child pornography
    • Talking about sex with a child
  • Physical Neglect
    • Being denied adequate food, clothing, and shelter
    • Leaving a child alone for long periods of time
    • Letting a young child supervise siblings
    • Leaving a child home alone
    • Inadequate supervision
    • Being kicked out of the home for short periods
  • Emotional/Psychological Neglect
    • Ignoring a child by not acknowledging his or her presence or need for nurturing
    • Refusing to show affection for a child
    • Humiliating or insulting a child
    • Isolating a child from social contact with adults and other children
    • Threatening a child with extreme punishment
    • Encouraging a child to engage in destructive or antisocial behavior
    • Having inappropriate expectations for a child that are beyond his or her developmental level
  • Medical Neglect
    • Failing to get needed emergency care for a child
    • Ignoring medical advice if a child has a treatable disease or disability
    • Failing to give child medicine prescribed by a doctor
    • Failing to provide dental care for a child
  • Educational Neglect
    • A child is not registered in school or allowed to attend school.

When the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services receives a call reporting suspected abuse, trained social workers first determine whether the report sounds credible. If they think it does, they launch an investigation. Police may also be involved. If they determine there is abuse or neglect, the next step would be a criminal investigation and the removal of the child from the home. But things do not always work out that way, and children end up being left in abusive or neglectful homes. Our attorneys fight for the rights of foster care children to protect them from abuse and neglect.

Yes. They often require more intense services and support, so the families who take them in must have specific skills to help meet the child’s needs.

For foster families, this usually involves getting additional training or becoming part of a specialized program. This is why It is so important for agencies to share information about the background of children with potential foster care families. When they withhold this information, abused, or neglected children can be placed with families who are not equipped to handle them.

Children are placed in foster care when their birth parents or legal guardians are no longer able to take care of them, or if they are in danger of being harmed by staying. About half of foster care children are returned to their families within a year. But in some cases, that is not possible or considered safe for the child, and the Department of Children and Family Services will try to find them an adoptive home.

Foster parents must be 21 years old and financially stable. In addition, they must take part in a home inspection and social assessment and must undergo a criminal background check. They must complete 27 hours of training about foster care and the needs of children, and complete a health screening. If a foster parent did not meet any of these requirements, our attorneys work hard to hold these agencies responsible

The state of Illinois requires all potential foster parents to undergo a thorough background check. This includes:

  • Checking state or local criminal records
  • Checking federal criminal records
  • Fingerprinting and name-based checks
  • Child abuse and neglect record checks
  • Sex offender registry checks
  • Criminal record checks for all adult members of the household

However, sometimes adoption agencies do not complete all of these checks, and a child gets hurt. When that happens, our attorneys fight to hold those agencies responsible.


    How did you hear about us?

    Join The Deratany & Kosner Newsletter

    Want Legal Tips from Expert Attorneys?

    Sign up for our newsletter to receive exclusive legal counsel from the Deratany & Kosner team!

    Want Legal Tips from Expert Attorneys?

    Sign up for our newsletter to receive exclusive legal counsel from the Deratany & Kosner team!