(Providence, RI) – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit found yesterday that a district court “abused its discretion” in connection with its dismissal of a federal suit calling for reform of Rhode Island’s dysfunctional child welfare system. The appeals court ruled that the district court acted improperly when it refused to allow plaintiffs to meet with counsel and when it barred them from obtaining evidence essential to their claims.
(New York, N.Y.) – On May 1, in recognition of National Foster Care Month, non-profit organization Children’s Rights will launch its third annual Fostering the Future campaign to amplify the voices of those affected by state care. Each day of May, Children’s Rights will publish a blog post written by someone involved in child welfare, such as a former foster youth, foster parent or child advocate.
(Nashville, TN) – In a federal court hearing today, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Todd J. Campbell approved a modified exit plan that reflects Tennessee’s significant progress toward fully meeting court-ordered improvements to its child welfare system.
Children Still at Risk of Harm in Michigan Foster Care; DHS’ Safety Record Remains Well Short of Federal Standards
(Detroit) — Too many children in Michigan foster care remain at risk of harm almost seven years after officials agreed to reform its failing child welfare system, and the state is unable to track its progress in other critical areas because of ongoing issues with its year-old data management system, according to a report released today.
(New York, NY) – Today state reviewers issued a report tracking the 2014 progress of the Wisconsin Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare (BMCW) in reforming its child welfare system, an effort spurred by national advocacy organization Children’s Rights. According to the report, 114 of the 194 case managers (59 percent) working for BMCW at the beginning of last year had left by the end of the year, and performance slipped in areas such as providing children in foster care with annual medical and dental exams and timely plans to connect them with permanent homes.
Arizona State Agencies Named in Federal Class Action for Their Dangerous, Severely Deficient Foster Care System
(Phoenix, A.Z.) – Even as Arizona has taken steps to reduce the enormous backlog of reports that children have been maltreated in their own homes, it has disregarded other destructive practices that expose abused and neglected children to “further physical and emotional harm and unreasonable risk of harm while in the State’s care,” according to a federal class-action lawsuit that 10 plaintiff children filed today on behalf of the more than 16,000 children in state foster care.
Latest Report on Metro Atlanta Child Welfare Finds ‘Stressed Workforce, A Taxed Infrastructure and Diminished Quality’ of Abuse Investigations
(New York, NY) – While the Division of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) is still making improvements to Metro Atlanta foster care, the agency is struggling with rising caseloads, especially those of child abuse investigators, the handling of maltreatment reports and identifying and meeting the needs of children in foster care, according to a report released Wednesday on the implementation of reforms in Fulton and DeKalb Counties.
(Charleston, S.C.) — Citing dangerous deficiencies in South Carolina’s child welfare system – including a drastic shortage of foster homes, excessive caseloads and a failure to provide children with basic health care – national advocacy organization Children’s Rights, the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center and Matthew T. Richardson, partner at the South Carolina law firm Wyche P.A., today filed suit against Governor Nikki Haley and Acting State Director of the Department of Social Services (DSS) Susan Alford.
Children’s Rights Calls On Board of Correction to Prohibit Solitary Confinement for Those Under 25 at New York City Jails
(New York) – Julia Davis, staff attorney at national advocacy organization Children’s Rights, will join the Legal Aid Society, the Urban Justice Center and other organizations and individuals testifying at a public hearing that will examine the effects of solitary confinement and consider the City’s proposed segregated housing at Rikers Island. Children’s Rights is calling on the New York City Board of Correction to prohibit solitary confinement or the use of “Enhanced Supervision Housing” for youth under the age of 25.
On Dec. 2, the Michigan Department of Human Services filed a motion seeking to dissolve or modify a 2011 modified settlement agreement that allows for federal monitors to oversee the state’s child welfare system. In response to the filing, Sara Bartosz, lead counsel for Children’s Rights, issued a statement.