Cover Story: A Lawsuit Says a Child Placement Agency Should Be Held Accountable for the Gang Rape of a 13-Year-Old Foster Child
Most foster children in Texas are placed in their temporary homes through child placement agencies that contract with the state. These agencies are supposed to find and vet foster parents and monitor the homes. They are of course expected to place the safety and well-being of foster children above all else.
A foster child runs away and is allegedly raped. Who's accountable?
A recently filed lawsuit claims that a Houston child placement agency called America's Angels placed a 13-year-girl in a Missouri City foster home that was a stalking ground for a sexual predator -- the foster mother's boyfriend. The suit claims that she and another girl ran away from the home in January 2012 and were subsequently raped by the boyfriend and several of his friends.
Attorneys for America's Angels and the foster mom deny the allegations, but the Department of Family and Protective Services' database shows the agency had previously been cited for not performing background checks on frequent visitors to some of the homes. And some ex-employees say the agency's director had too close of a relationship with some of the foster parents.
The state investigated and cleared America's Angels and the foster mother, but it's not clear how thorough this investigation was. This week's cover story looks into America's Angels, and whether the agency, or state investigators, could have done more to protect the children in their care.