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Foster care abuse cases – Update 18th October 2017

Armes v Nottinghamshire County Council 2017 UKSC 4

Vicarious liability in Foster care abuse cases

This case has been eagerly awaited by those claimants who until now have been denied compensation after having been abused by their foster carers. Councils who retain foster carers have until now been able to avoid paying compensation to victims of foster care abuse as it was previously thought that the relationship between the council and the foster carer was not sufficiently close that the council should pick compensate the victim.

This new ruling confirms that Councils are vicariously liable for abuse carried out by their foster carers on the basis that :-

Councils recruit , select and train foster carers. They monitor and assess them on an ongoing basis.

The council retains parental responsibility and makes decisions on things such as medical treatment.

Foster carers are paid allowances by the council.

The council has a close degree of control over their foster carers and can remove children from their care at any time.

Councils are aware that this foster care arrangement involves a risk of sexual abuse as children are placed in the houses of foster carers. Councils create this risk when children are placed with them.

Councils are in a better position than foster carers to meet compensation claims.

The case can be viewed here https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2016-0004-judgment.pdf

If any person harmed whilst in foster care wishes to talk confidentially with David Greenwood or Carole Spencer at Switalskis they can be contacted on 01924 882000 or david.greenwood@switalskis.com

 

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