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Grand jury report blasts NY foster care system

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HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (AP) — A foster parent accused of sexually abusing boys in his care could have been stopped years earlier if not for “abysmal” communication among the child-welfare agencies involved, according to a special grand jury report obtained by The Associated Press.

In the 83-page report, the Suffolk County Supreme Court jury outlined a remarkable series of failures that allowed Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu to take in more than 100 children over 20 years, despite being the subject of 18 separate child-abuse investigations.

Rules intended to protect the reputations of falsely accused foster parents were partly to blame, the report said. Substandard abuse investigations were another issue. But the biggest problem, the report said, was the simple failure of the four governmental and one nonprofit child-welfare agencies to share information.

One agency, the Suffolk County Department of Social Services, became so concerned with the number of suspected abuse reports against Gonzales-Mugaburu in 2002 that it asked a contractor to stop placing children with him.

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1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

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