• Seattle foster children fed ‘dog food burritos' get $6M from state

    By: Deborah Horne

    Updated:

    A state agency agrees to pay millions to four former foster children sent to the home of a Seattle couple even after the state had revoked their license.

    "I would rather have spent an eternity in hell before I spend another day in the Robinsons' house," said a former foster child.

    Why this may not be the end of the case against the state.

    The victim we talked to says their happiness over the settlement is tempered by all that they experienced at the hands of two foster parents the state paid for years.

    What she is about to describe is disturbing. 

    Watch the report below from 2016.

    Being mentally, physically and sexually abused every single day," she said. 

    "And served dog food tortillas?" she was asked.

    "Dog food tortillas, being put in the dog house to sleep outside," she said.

    She didn't want to tell you who she is.

    But she does want you to know about the house of horrors she says the state Department of Social and Health Services sent her and her siblings to live when they were young children.

    "Having a grown man lay on top of you," she said.

    "Having the foster parents have other kids punch you in the mouth; having guns getting shot off in the house. A lot of stuff went on in that home."

    She was 5 years old the first time the state sent her to live with foster parents Tracy and Henry Robinson.

    She says she cried out to several adults for help.


    "Teachers, counselors," she said. "I told Child Protective Services. I pretty much told anybody that would listen."

    “And what did they do?" she was asked. "What did they say?"

    "They didn't listen,” she said. “And I don’t think they did anything because I went back to the same home twice.”

    She lived alone with her pain until she met Des Moines lawyer Lawand Anderson. 

    "One of the worst stories I've ever heard," Anderson said.

    Anderson has a theory as to why so many children were sent to live with the Robinsons.

    "You had the crack epidemic," she says. "You had a lot of poor families that were losing their children to the system. You had a system that may have been overworked, understaffed."

    In 2015, in Lake Stevens, three siblings were rescued from the squalor of living in animal and human waste, with no heat, hardly any food.
    Their parents were arrested.

    But pleas from others to help them fell on deaf ears. Late last year, the state paid $4 million dollars to settle their case.

    "Should I congratulate you? " the former foster child was asked.

    "I wouldn't say it's a big congratulations," she said.

    Now the state is paying her and three other former foster children nearly $6 million dollars for what happened to them. 

    "How will you spend the money?"

    "It's still like a shock to me," she said. "But I really want to get some professional help."

    "What advice would you give to prevent this from happening again?"

    "The advice that I would honestly give Child Protective Service is listen, listen more," she said. "Listen to the children."

    What made this case especially egregious is that the state actually shut down this foster home twice in the 1990s.

    But they kept sending kids there anyway.


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