We measure our success by the difference we make in children’s lives.
Children’s Rights has won landmark cases improving child welfare systems in Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
Much more than mere symbolic victories, our campaigns for comprehensive child welfare reform produce real, measurable improvements in the lives of abused and neglected children.
In New Jersey:
Prior to Children’s Rights’ reform, foster homes were so scarce that some kids spent days in state offices, sometimes staying until midnight. Others were put in homes where children had already been abused. Children’s Rights’ legal action led to the addition of thousands of foster parents. New Jersey also created a program to provide children in state custody with proper medical care, and slashed the number of children sent out of state for mental and behavioral health treatment by more than 95 percent, ensuring kids stay close to their own communities.
Under sweeping reforms brought about by Children’s Rights’ advocacy, more kids are getting adopted from foster care. Only 431 children were adopted in 2000. The number climbed to 1,225 in 2007, and has stayed above 750 every year since. Since 2002, Tennessee has also cut in half the number of children living in orphanage-style institutions and other non-family settings. The state is consistently placing kids closer to their home communities, and children are spending less time in state custody.
When Children’s Rights first took action, Connecticut’s child welfare system was mismanaged and dangerous. In the 1990′s, roughly 60 percent of abuse and neglect reports went uninvestigated due to staff shortages. The state stabilized its workforce and, since 2005, 100 percent of reports have been investigated. Connecticut also cut the number of children sent to out of state institutions and deeply reduced the number of kids younger than 13 placed in institutional settings — from 343 in 2006 to just 90 in 2012.
Children’s Rights’ work on behalf of metropolitan Atlanta children resulted in an unprecedented decision establishing children’s constitutional right to effective legal representation throughout their time in foster care. Attorneys were once burdened with caseloads of about 500 kids, and now represent fewer than 70 children. Children now get zealous legal advocacy when the courts make life-altering decisions about them. The system also closed a pair of dangerous emergency shelters and has improved its oversight of foster homes.
Recently, Children’s Rights helped overturn a state law that slashed aid to parents adopting children from foster care. In a Jackson County reform campaign, our efforts in Kansas City ensured that more than 90 percent of the children in custody received necessary dental, medical, and mental health care.
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- Federal Court Rules Massachusetts Child Welfare Case Can Proceed on Behalf of All Children in Foster Care
- Massachusetts Child Welfare Reform Case to Proceed as Foster Youth Win Major Decision
- Unprecedented Reforms Transform Legal Representation for Atlanta Foster Youth; Federal Court Oversight Could End in 2011