The headline in the New York Daily News said it all: “Agency responsible for placing foster children with accused perv previously sent kid to foster parent that tortured them.” The agency had a history of placing foster kids with abusers.
The nonprofit agency, SCO, sent foster kids to Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu, who has been charged with abusing children in his care. The numbers he cared for totaled more than 140 over two decades.
SCO several years ago paid out a $17 million settlement to 11 foster children caged, beaten and tortured by now-jailed foster parent, Judith Leekin, who earned $1.26 million in stipends from the state for caring for the kids. A judge at the time called the home a “house of horrors.”
Leekin now is in prison, having been convicted of aggravated child abuse.
Florida children’s rights and child abuse attorney Howard Talenfeld, who represented the foster children abused by Leekin, called the situation a “tragic story that has repeated itself over and over again in the City of New York.”
“We have seen this because of underfunded monitoring systems, overworked caseworkers with too many cases, and failure of the city to do proper oversight of the nonprofits,” he told the paper.
These horrific stories of child abuse in child welfare systems scream for the need for major change. Read more here.