National Center for Youth Law

STRATEGIES

Aisha W. v. Aunt Martha’s Youth Services Center

Three-year-old Aisha and her six-year-old brother were placed in a non-relative foster home. Defendants were the social services agency and the assigned caseworker. Plaintiffs brought negligence claims alleging that during the four and half month plaintiffs were placed in the foster home, defendants failed to visit them on a monthly basis, failed to speak to the children outside of the presence of their foster parents, and failed to provide the children with the services they required, in violation of DCFS and Aunt Martha’s policies and procedures. As a result, defendants never discovered that plaintiffs were being horribly abused, neglected, starved, and, in the case of Aisha, sexually assaulted by her foster parents.

Overview

FILE NO., COURT AND DATE FILED:

00 L 5825 (Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., Sept. 12, 2000)
1-03-2661

CITATIONS

353 Ill. App. 3d 1078 (Ill. App. Ct. 2004); 2005 Ill. App. LEXIS 110 (Ill. App. Ct. Jan. 28, 2005); 833 N.E. 2d 1 (Ill. 2005).

ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFFS

Jill Runk
Robert F. Harris
Office of the Cook County Public Guardian
69 W. Washington
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 603-0800
Fax: (312) 603-9946
rujill@cookcountygov.com

HISTORY AND STATUS

At a trial in June 2003, the jury returned a verdict for defendants. In December 2004, plaintiffs won a reversal in the appellate court, and in May 2005, the Illinois Supreme Court refused to hear the case. In July 2005, the parties reached a six-figure settlement.