$10 Million Washington DC Injuries to a Minor Settlement to Go to Boy Who Sustained Catastrophic Brain Damage During Foster Care Beating

The District has agreed to pay $10 million over the catastrophic beating of a young boy at the hands of his foster mother. The child, Rafael Pearson, sustained a massive brain injury from the assaults.

Pearson, whose biological mother was suffering from drug addiction, was just a few days old when he was placed in the hands of foster mom Tanya Jenkins. 46 days later, he was nearly dead after she had severely shaken and beaten him. Pearson ended up on life support for days.

Today, he remains profoundly disabled and will require 24-hour care for the rest of his life. The young boy will eventually go live at his grandmother’s home where an elevator will have to be installed. The DC child injury settlement will be paid out in 3 installments and is there to provide for his medical care for the rest of his life.

According to the Washington Post, Child and Family Services Agency placed Pearson with Jenkins, even though she had sent back another child that had been placed with her after just five weeks. Jenkins reportedly agreed to take the baby because she needed the money. Although a social worker should have been visiting Pearson once a week for the first eight weeks of his stay with Jenkins, only one visit was made by the agency during the time that he was in her care.

In court documents, prosecutors said that Jenkins admitted to the authorities that she had struck, shaken, and dropped Pearson on more than one occasion. Jenkins was sentenced to 12 years in prison for cruelty to children.

Inflicted Traumatic Brain Injury

According to KidsHealth.org, inflicted traumatic brain injury, also called abusive head trauma, can occur when a child is shaken, dropped, struck, or thrown. Head trauma is the number one cause of child abuse-related deaths. Most victims are under the age of 1. Parents and caregivers are the most common perpetrators. About 60% of shaking injury victims are male.

D.C. settles for $10 million in foster care abuse case, The Washington Post, November 8, 2010
Abusive Head Trauma, KidsHealth.org
Related Web Resources:

Child and Family Services Agency, DC Gov.

Brain Injury Association of America

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