California county to pay $32 million in child abuse case IG News

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In the summer of 2020, a 10-month-old boy, identified only as JG in court records, was admitted to an Orange County hospital and found to have suffered “severe brain damage due to severe malnutrition”.

JG will “potentially have the cognitive function of an infant for the rest of his life,” according to a lawsuit filed last year against Tulare County.

The lawsuit, filed through the child’s grandmother, alleged that the county’s Child Welfare Services program failed to act on multiple reports of child abuse and neglect, resulting in JG’s condition and permanent brain damage.

The county settled the lawsuit this month and JG is due to pay $32 million in what is “considered the largest settlement ever made by a child survivor of abuse in the state of California against a child protective services agency,” the plaintiffs’ attorney said Monday. in a news release.

“The system has failed,” said lead attorney Brian Panish.

“Overall supervision and management [of the Child Welfare Services program] was too bad,” he said, adding that the program’s systems were “behind the times” and “inadequate.”

As part of the settlement, the agency must implement new policies and software to better track and follow up on reports of abuse.

Neither child welfare services nor the county responded to a request for comment on Monday.

“JG’s experience represents one of the worst-case scenarios when child welfare services fail to meet their basic obligations,” Paneesh said in a news release. “There is no amount of money that can restore JG’s quality of life and we will never know the life he could have lived if the county had done its job.”

In October 2019, just weeks after the baby was born, the agency began receiving referrals about JG.

JG’s biological parents, according to the complaint, do not believe in modern medicine or that diseases are real, and in early 2019 his biological father conceived a plan to raise an entirely “plant-based” child.

The complaint states that JG was exposed to a variety of dangerous conditions within a week of being born, including prolonged “sun baths” followed by ice baths. The father posted pictures of these antics online.

On October 9, photos of JG in which he looked “very small, wrinkled and malnourished” were posted online.

On a single day in March 2020, JG’s grandmother called Child Welfare Services 10 times to report JG’s malnourishment and neglect.

According to the complaint, “none of these calls were documented.”

The grandmother calls the agency again the next day and talks with a social service worker about JG’s treatment.

Again, the referral was not investigated, and the case was passed on to several other social workers.

“From March 2020 to July 31, 2020, JG’s health deteriorated. His body was covered with rashes, his hands and feet were swollen and he was not gaining weight.

JG’s parents were feeding the infant mainly mixed bananas and dates with honey. She was not being breastfed or given formula.

On July 31, JG was taken on vacation to Costa Mesa by his parents. The next morning, JG was unresponsive and was eventually hospitalized at Orange County Hospital.

The Child Protection Agency in Orange County launched an investigation, and on August 4, Tulare County Child Welfare Services was notified of JG’s condition.

Orange County Child Protective Services took JG into custody, and charges of serious child endangerment were filed against the parents by the Orange County District Attorney.

After spending time in a foster home, JG was placed in the custody of his grandmother.

“She’s his guardian angel,” said Paneesh.