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Children with Special Needs Abused In School or By Caregivers

Many parents of children with special needs in California engage the services of professional caregivers. Support may come from teachers, teacher aides, home health aides, community-based homes, and programs or long-term care facilities. These may be part of a state or school program. They may be standalone programs or programs within a larger program – like special needs classes at a school.

States have long recognized the needs of children with special needs and have put in place many laws and regulations requiring those who work with children to have special training. At the very least, states recognize that people providing care to children with special needs have a duty of care commensurate with the needs of the child. Institutions and caregivers that fail to fulfill that duty may be held liable for any resulting damages.

Recognizing Abuse or Neglect of Your Child with Special Needs

  • Physical abuse – This involves violence like hitting, pushing, pulling, burning and other types of physical abuse.
  • Sexual abuse – This generally involves caregivers in outpatient and inpatient programs who engage in sexual abuse. Special needs children often have impairments that make any form of consent invalid.
  • Emotional abuse – This concerns things like name-calling, isolation and other acts intended to cause mental distress.
  • Neglect – This occurs when caregivers or schools fail to provide adequate supervision or accommodate the child’s academic, social, dietary or transportation needs.
  • Financial abuse – This involves caregivers, custodians or a trustee’s misuse of state or other funds designated for support of the child.

You may be able to pursue a claim for compensation for resulting damages and losses when these or other abuses are perpetrated on your child with special needs.

What to Do If Your Child with Special Needs Was Abused or Neglected

  1. Where abuse is suspected, get a thorough medical examination right away.
  2. Document all results.
  3. Contact an attorney for assistance in understanding your rights.

Children with special needs often have difficulty or are unable to speak effectively about the abuse. Courts appoint a guardian ad litem: an adult appointed to protect the child’s interests. Their role is to act on behalf of the child. They will speak to the court, monitor family and caregivers and ensure all parties comply with court orders.

If you retain an attorney, the attorney will work with the guardian ad litem to help identify information that could be used to establish a case for damages. This may involve interviewing witnesses, subpoenaing records and determining what laws and duties caregivers and organizations may have broken.

Damages That May Be Recoverable

Types of compensation include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Medical bills
  • Lost income
  • In the event your child has passed due to the abuse–wrongful death damages.

Contact Our Child with Special Needs Abuse and Neglect Attorneys Today

If your child with special needs has been neglected or abused by a caregiver or instructor in Southern California, you should consult with the Los Angeles lawyers of The Law Offices of Scott Glovsky. Our lawyers have experience handling complex and emotionally charged cases. We always strive to serve our clients with the skill and compassion they deserve.

To schedule a free and confidential consultation about your case, contact us today.