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Class Actions

Children’s Rights goes to court to fight for children’s fundamental rights to be protected from harm — and to grow up in loving, permanent homes.

When we have determined that a failing child welfare system is harmful to children and resistant to other means of change, we take tough legal action to secure court orders mandating the system’s top-to-bottom reform. We negotiate detailed reform plans designed to bring about drastically better results for children. And we remain in place to monitor progress for as long as it takes to ensure that improvements are made and maintained.

The full list of our reform campaigns includes cases at every stage, including:

Three active, pre-judgment cases

Having filed class action lawsuits on behalf of the children in the custody of these states’ failing child welfare systems, we are fighting the legal battles necessary to establish the legal basis for each case, to gain access to the documents and other evidence we need to build compelling cases for child welfare reform, to secure court rulings in our favor or agreements with the defendants to enter into legally binding court orders, and to pave the way toward the development of comprehensive, court-enforceable reform plans.

Nine active cases in which court-ordered settlements or judgments are being monitored and enforced

In these cases, reform plans have been developed and approved by the federal court, and our legal and policy teams remain in place to monitor and guide each system’s progress. Because the implementation of the comprehensive reform plans we require is a long and complicated process, some systems experience setbacks along the way. If we can help them get back on track, we try to do so. If the problems are more serious and require additional legal measures, we are prepared to go back to court.

Six closed cases that have been completed successfully

The child welfare systems in these cases have met all the requirements of the settlements that Children’s Rights negotiated with them and have been released from the oversight of the federal courts. Some of the reforms we have brought about in these cases serve as models for good practice that we have been able to adapt and implement in other systems.

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