Investigating the Case

When nothing else can make a broken system change its ways, Children’s Rights takes action.

We launch our reform campaigns only after we have thoroughly investigated a child welfare system and determined that it is profoundly harmful to children — and resistant to any other means of change.

Fact-Finding First

Our investigations generally begin when local child advocates or other concerned citizens call us for help. We rely on them to let us know when a child welfare system has failed so badly for so long that only outside intervention can force it to turn itself around and start producing better results for the children who depend on it.

We gather as much publicly available information as we can to identify problems, including:

  • Slow or sloppy investigations of reported abuse and neglect.
  • Inadequate health care, education, and other services for children in foster care.
  • Heavy reliance on group homes and institutions, rather than families, to house children in state custody.
  • High rates of maltreatment in foster care placements.
  • High numbers of children languishing in foster care for long periods of time, or being bounced from one unstable foster home to another.

And we review local, state, and federal laws to determine whether a class action lawsuit seeking court-ordered reform is legally viable.

On-the-Ground Investigations Next

If the available information confirms that a child welfare system is in crisis, we check it out in detail ourselves.

We travel throughout the jurisdiction, speaking with the people on the front lines who know the system from firsthand experience — including child advocates, children’s families, foster parents, former foster children, school officials, attorneys involved in child welfare cases, local judges, service providers, and social workers.

Sometimes these investigations lead us to conclude that taking legal action wouldn’t be appropriate. More often, they confirm what we’ve heard from local advocates and what we’ve found in our review of the facts.

And when we are convinced that only the power of the courts can compel a failing child welfare system to change its course, we partner with law firms and advocates take legal action on behalf of the children in its custody, seeking comprehensive reform.

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