Copyright (c) 1988 Georgia Law Review Association
Georgia Law Review
PARENTS, CHILDREN, AND THE COURTS: CASE COMMENT: Taylor v. Ledbetter: Vindicating the Constitutional Rights of Foster Children to Adequate Care and Protection
22 Ga. L. Rev. 1187
DOUGLAS D. SELPH
With each passing year, child abuse becomes more widespread and claims new victims. According to a recent study, approximately 1.793 million children were abused and neglected in 1985 alone. 1 If current headlines are any indication, a startling portion of this abuse is probably occurring outside the home at the hands of someone other than the child's natural parents. One such statistic is kathy Jo Taylor. In October of 1982, two-year-old Kathy Jo suffered severe injuries at the hands of her foster mother and lapsed into a coma that continues to this day. 2 The Gwinnett County (Georgia) Department of Family and Children Services (DFACS) had placed Kathy in the foster home after the county juvenile court granted the DFACS legal custody of the child. 3 Subsequent to the injuries, Kathy's guardian ad litem 4 filed a section 1983 5 action on her behalf against the state and county officials responsible for placing her in the foster home. 6 The complaint alleged that in failing to provide adequate preplacement inspection and postplacement supervision of the foster home, the state and county officials acted with deliberate indifference to her rights in violation of the eighth and fourteenth amendments 7 and deprived her without due process of law of a legitimate entitlement to those services, also in violation of the fourteenth amendment. 8 The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, 9
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