State settles suit claiming abuse at foster home for $1.5M

CENTRALIA, Wash. (AP) — The state Department of Social and Health Services has settled the first lawsuit claiming abuse and negligence at a state-licensed foster home that closed in 1994.

The Lewis County Chronicle reported Thursday that the department agreed to pay $1.5 million to be split equally between the three plaintiffs listed in the 2015 lawsuit.

The Kiwanis Vocational Home served as a state-licensed group home for wards of the state. The lawsuits’ plaintiffs say the state and Kiwanis allowed the home to stay open despite years of allegations of sexual and physical abuse by staff and other residents.

The department says a total of 13 claims have been brought against the state regarding the Centralia group foster home.

The department says the settlement is not an admission of liability by the state.