VISALIA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – An infant boy who suffered permanent brain damage as a result of Tulare County Child Welfare Services’ failure to respond to reports of child abuse has obtained a $32 million settlement against the county.
The official report says, beginning in March 2020, the complainant named J.G. was the subject of numerous endangerment referrals received and ignored by the Tulare County Child Welfare Services.
According to the records, the infant boy was suffering from malnutrition and neglect while in the custody of his biological parents, however, employees of the county failed to respond to or investigate these reports.
Officials say when J.G.’s health deteriorated over the next five months, his body was found unresponsive and admitted to the hospital where he was diagnosed with profound brain damage attributed to his diet and lack of essential nutrition.
Given his symptoms, the child was immediately placed on life support, and when health specialists determined J.G.’s brain damage was irreversible life support was discontinued but the child did not die, the report says.
There is no amount of money that will restore J.G.’s quality of life and we will never know the life he could have lived if the County had just done its job. We hope this settlement serves as a wake-up call to child welfare service agencies everywhere.Brian Panish, said lead attorney
Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP which is the law firm representing the child said when the County became aware of J.G.’s resulting condition they immediately set out to orchestrate a coverup – going so far as to alter records in an effort to change the timeline of events.
Additionally, documents from the law firm said the County has denied any responsibility, liability, or accountability throughout this case and fought for over a year to deny justice to J.G.
Tulare County Child Welfare Services exists for one reason: to protect the smallest and most vulnerable members of our society. When it came to protecting J.G., Child Welfare Services failed miserably.Wyatt Vespermann, attorney
The law firm said this is believed to be the largest settlement ever obtained against a child protective services agency by a surviving child of abuse in the state of California.
Besides the monetary settlement obtained for the child and approved by the court, the County is required to confirm it has implemented policies and software that will enable the agency to better track and follow up on prior complaints of alleged child abuse.