Children deserve to be free from harm and abuse under any circumstances, especially when placed under the care of a rehabilitation facility. VisionQuest is a minor rehabilitation facility that has faced a number of lawsuits for allegations of physical and sexual abuse. This for-profit company has a long history of physical harm allegations, putting into question its integrity and the effectiveness of its programs.
When corporations like VisionQuest violate their duty of care and commit heinous crimes like child sexual abuse, victims and their families may be able to claim compensation for their damages. If you or your child suffered from physical abuse, sexual abuse or negligence in any other way, you may be able to receive compensation for the damages incurred with the help of a child abuse lawyer.
What Are the Child Abuse Allegations Against VisionQuest?
VisionQuest is facing a number of civil lawsuits in all states where it operates. Some of the allegations involve excessive use of force, while others are as drastic as involving child sexual assault. In fact, a Pennsylvania VisionQuest facility was closed down in 2017 following a flurry of lawsuits against the facility’s operators. The decision to close down the facility was made after the city of Philadelphia decided to end its contract with VisionQuest due to assault allegations.
Since that time, VisionQuest has faced and continues to face numerous child abuse allegations across the country, including:
- Negligence and negligent supervision
- Child physical abuse, including broken bones and physical burns
- Child sexual abuse
- Physical restraint of children
As a company intended to take care of children and ensure their smooth reentry into society, any violations of the children’s safety can be characterized as a violation of the company’s duty of care. Any assault made against a child while in the custody of VisionQuest could be grounds for filing a civil lawsuit to seek compensation for the damages.
What Is VisionQuest?
VisionQuest is a private, for-profit corporation that was established in 1973 as a treatment program for underage delinquents. It offers rehabilitation programs that aim to reintroduce children to society after they have committed a crime. These programs can be done instead of or in addition to traditional correctional programs at juvenile detention facilities.
Minors typically enroll in residential VisionQuest programs for 12 to 15 months, where they can be assigned to treatments that involve intensive counseling and pioneering experiences in the wilderness. The company also offers in-home services for children with minor offenses, allowing them to get access to therapy at home. VisionQuest communicates directly with the court for both residential and in-house programs to ensure that the minor is fulfilling the terms of their conviction.
Where Are VisionQuest Facilities Located?
VisionQuest operates residential treatment facilities in:
Former VisionQuest residents have filed lawsuits in each of these five states, showing that there is no shortage of allegations of abuse against this company. If you live in any of these states and your child suffered abuse while living in a VisionQuest residential facility, you may be able to file a lawsuit to obtain financial compensation for your damages.
How Do You Know if Your Child Was Abused at VisionQuest?
Learning that your child was abused can be a traumatizing experience. However, it is extremely important to identify the signs of abuse and understand the full extent of the pain your child may have endured. Abusers will often try to manipulate children into believing that they cannot speak to others about their suffering, keeping them from confiding in their parents or trustworthy adults.
Some common signs of physical or sexual abuse in children include:
- Unexplained injuries like bruises, scars, scabs, broken bones, cuts and burns
- Injuries that don’t fit your child’s explanation
- Withdrawing from friends, family and social activities
- Changes in behavior, including aggression or irrational actions
- Depression, self-harm, and suicidal ideation
- Nightmares and disruption of sleep patterns
- Inappropriate knowledge about sex and sexual acts
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Delayed emotional development
If your child is displaying any of these symptoms, you may want to consult with a licensed therapist outside of the VisionQuest facility to find the right way to approach the subject with your child.
How Victims of VisionQuest Child Abuse Can Be Entitled to Compensation
If you are a parent of a child who claims to have suffered from abuse while residing at a VisionQuest facility, you may be able to hold the aggressor accountable for their actions and obtain the compensation you and your child deserve. Filing a child physical or sexual abuse lawsuit against VisionQuest could help you obtain a financial award for damages like:
- Medical bills, including hospitalization and physical rehabilitation
- Mental health treatment, including ongoing therapy to overcome trauma
- Emotional distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and other psychological problems
- Disability and loss of enjoyment of life
While many of these damages are very easy to quantify, others are highly subjective. Children are still in development, so they won’t all react in the same way to similar acts of aggression. That makes it difficult for courts to determine a monetary value for child abuse cases. If you’re serious about getting a fair compensation award for your child, you should contact a law firm with plenty of experience handling similar cases. At Morris & Dewett, we have case results that speak for themselves, including over $1,800,000 in compensation for sexual abuse cases.
Proving Liability in VisionQuest Child Abuse Cases
One of the biggest obstacles in obtaining a fair compensation package for your child is proving that VisionQuest is responsible for the abuse that your child endured. To do this, you will need to prove that:
- Your child was residing in a VisionQuest facility when they suffered the abuse,
- Your child suffered damages as a result of physical or sexual abuse, and
- VisionQuest was negligent for your child’s assault.
To prove all of this, you will need the help of a child abuse attorney who can help you gather all the necessary evidence and obtain a settlement or award for your child. An experienced attorney will:
- Work with law enforcement. If there’s a criminal case filed against VisionQuest at the same time, working with the police department could provide invaluable evidence to prove VisionQuest’s negligence.
- Gather eyewitness accounts. Even if there are negligent employees within VisionQuest, not all employees may be willing to tolerate child abuse and may offer a helpful testimonial against the alleged abuser.
- Reports from medical professionals. Taking your child to be evaluated by a medical professional can be a great way to ensure that your child obtains the medical attention they need and to establish a baseline for your child’s injuries. A medical report could serve as crucial proof of your child’s injuries.
- Take your case to a jury. Most civil lawsuits are resolved before they reach trial, but you need to have a lawyer on your side who is ready to take the case all the way to hold your child’s abusers accountable.
Filing a Child Sexual Abuse Claim
Dealing with the consequences of the physical or sexual abuse of your child can be devastating. However, you need to file a physical or sexual abuse claim as soon as possible to maximize the chances of success. Although it may sound like a very involved process that will prevent you from focusing on helping your child heal, you won’t have to spend hours filing a lawsuit if you hire the right attorney. An experienced attorney will do all the work for you so can focus on spending time with your child.
Statutes of Limitation and Statutes of Response
Another important reason to file a lawsuit as soon as possible is the statute of limitations. In Texas, most personal injury cases have a statute of limitations of two years, meaning you only have two years from the day of the abuse to file your lawsuit. However, child abuse cases are handled a little bit differently. Section 16.0045 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code allows a statute of limitations of 30 years for abuse involving:
- Child sexual assault
- Aggravated child sexual assault
- Continuous sexual assault or abuse of children or a disabled individual
- Indecency with a child
Texas law makes further allowances for other types of child abuse, so the best thing to do is contact an experienced child abuse lawyer — even if it’s been more than two years since the day of your child’s abuse.
When To Contact an Attorney for a VisionQuest Child Sexual Abuse Case
Parents dealing with the physical or sexual abuse of their child deserve to have the resources necessary to help their child recover physically and mentally. That’s why Texas law routinely awards financial compensation to children who were victims of abuse by corporations like VisionQuest. If your child was physically or sexually assaulted while in VisionQuest’s care, get in touch with a legal professional at Morris & Dewett immediately for help with your case. The right attorney will take care of all the legal filings so you can spend your time with your child when they need you most.
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code: Chapter 16: Limitations
Mayo Clinic: Child Abuse
The Philadelphia Inquirer. Accused of harming children at its North Philly shelter, VisionQuest now plans to house immigrant youth here