Turpin, now 21, was 17 when she escaped from the home of her parents, David and Louise Turpin, where she and her siblings had been abused for years.
But Turpin and five of her siblings say the abuse didn’t end when they were rescued. In a lawsuit filed on 20 July, the sibling say that they were then placed in an abusive foster home. Filed against Riverside County and ChildNet Youth and Family Services, according to People, the siblings allege in the filing that the family had a prior history of abuse and that the organisations were aware but still failed to intervene.
While speaking to People for the outlet’s August cover story, Turpin revealed that it’s “been a very scary journey”.
“I’m not ready to go into details about what happened to me in that home,” she said of her time with the foster family. “I was very traumatised, and it’s been a very scary journey.”
Turpin says the abuse in foster care, which allegedly occurred over three years, was especially difficult to overcome because it took place after years of abuse at the hands of her parents, who were sentenced to life in prison in 2019 after pleading guilty to 14 felony counts of abuse.
“It was really hard to understand the first situation [with my parents]. Then going into another, that was just really, really hard. You have all these questions and you just don’t get the answer,” Turpin said.
In the lawsuit, the Turpin siblings allege that they were physically and psychologically abused by their foster parents, but that officials failed to report the “severe abuse and neglect,” according to E! News.
One of the only bright sides of Turpin’s situation was that she was able to attend school for the first time in her life, at age 18. While an assessment test placed her at a third-grade level, according to People, Turpin said that she was a “fast learner” and that she enjoyed getting extra homework.
Turpin also spoke of her joy to be around other people her own age, apart from her siblings for the first time. The 21 year old told People that she made friends “within two weeks” and that she never had to answer questions about her past because her friends would tell her classmates she was “too shy”.
In April 2021, a month before her foster parents were arrested and charged with child abuse, Jordan was placed in a different foster home, where she told People that she also had a difficult experience.
“They separated me from my younger siblings and basically left me to be homeless,” she said, adding that the second foster family kicked her out when she went to visit her older sister. She later learned that court documents incorrectly stated that she was in college and had her own apartment, which was not true at the time.
While Turpin was eventually able to enroll in college, she said the experience in foster care left her with depression and anxiety, and that she would often dream about being back with the first foster family.
“It was impossible to sleep. Every time my eyes would close, I dreamed about being [in my first foster home],” she said. “I had to go to the emergency room a lot. I was really, really broken.”
Turpin also revealed that she hasn’t spoken to her own parents in years and still suffers from nightmares about her childhood.
“I still have nightmares. I can’t imagine if I ever kept in contact with them,” she said. “There’s no way I would be able to heal.”
While Turpin said that no change or help came from her and her siblings’ requests for help while in foster care, she did witness changes in the system after she and her sister Jennifer gave their first interview to ABC News’ Diane Sawyer last year.
“The people that really know they messed up were just gone,” she said. “Some quit and said: ‘I don’t work here anymore.’”
Turpin has since moved into her own apartment in California, which she said has been a “scary” adjustment, as “it’s expensive, and you’re not aware of how much you’re gonna need”. However, she also said it has been nice to “just be myself” and feel free.
“This is everything I ever wanted,” she admitted, adding that she’s “been feeling like my life is about to actually start”.
She also said that she has remained “very, very” close with her siblings, who all attended a Justin Bieber concert in March, where they met the singer and his wife Hailey Baldwin.
As for how she deals with the trauma of her past, Turpin told People that she has been writing in a journal, writing songs and spending time outdoors. The 21 year old has also found a large community on TikTok, where she has more than 747,000 followers. In the future, Turpin hopes to write a memoir and become a motivational speaker, as she believes that she can help others.
“I want to take what I went through and turn it into something positive,” she said. “I want people to know they’re not alone. There is a way out.”
In a statement to ABC News, the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services said: “Our hearts go out to the Turpin siblings. Any instance when a child is harmed is heartbreaking. We continue to evaluate our practices with a critical eye and are committed to understanding and addressing the root cause.”
In a separate statement, a ChildNet spokesperson told the outlet that the organisation is “not at liberty to disclose facts or discuss the allegations made in the complaint” at this time but that it looks “forward to providing the facts at the appropriate time in court”.
“Our agency has been serving California’s most vulnerable, traumatised youth for over 50 years. We have a strong track record of providing excellent care and continue to demonstrate our commitment to these children,” the spokesperson added.
The Independent has contacted ChildNet and Riverside County for comment.