In Texas, a federal judge ruled that children in permanent foster care can move forward with their class-action lawsuit against the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). The suit claims the state has violated their constitutional rights and subjected them to harm.
In a 107-page decision, Senior U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack found that “There is ample evidence on the record …. that caseworkers are overburdened, that this might pose risks to the children …. and that DFPS and other State officials had actual or constructive knowledge of these risks.”
Children’s Rights and Texas co-counsel Haynes and Boone, LLP and Yetter Coleman LLP have asserted that the state fails to monitor children’s safety, putting them in understaffed group homes and unlicensed homes of relatives or inappropriately placing them in congregate care. This leads to high rates of abuse and neglect, frequent and repeated moves between placements, and unnecessary separation of children from their siblings and communities.
Recently a U.S. district judge ruled in favor of Massachusetts in the case of Connor B. v. Patrick. Children’s Rights brought the case on behalf of children in foster care because of several well-known failings within the state’s Department of Children and Families. These issues existed for years, and far too many children have suffered harm as a result. CR awaits the court’s written opinion and will consider appellate options. The organization will remain vigilant to ensure that the state makes good on its promise to improve its child welfare system.
Read additional articles in Notes from the Field, the Children’s Rights Newsletter: