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Children Need Us Now, More than Ever

We don’t protect children one child at a time. Our job is to protect thousands of children over time and over generations — by exposing and eliminating the deep roots of dysfunction and racism inside the very government systems responsible for taking care of children.

Children’s Rights is committed to fighting for children harmed by America’s child welfare, juvenile legal, education, and healthcare systems in the courtroom and outside of it. We are winning 90% of the lawsuits we file to advance the rights of children in state foster care. We are winning hearts and minds through advocacy campaigns that educate and engage people about how they can help make things better for kids when systems fail them. And we use our deep knowledge about those systems to turn that engagement into laws and policies that codify and make permanent rules and practices we know lead to the fair and equitable treatment of all children in government care.

Children Need Us Now, More than Ever

We don’t protect children one child at a time. Our job is to protect thousands of children over time and over generations — by exposing and eliminating the deep roots of dysfunction and racism inside the very government systems responsible for taking care of children.

Children’s Rights is committed to fighting for children harmed by America’s child welfare, juvenile legal, education, and healthcare systems in the courtroom and outside of it. We are winning 90% of the lawsuits we file to advance the rights of children in state foster care. We are winning hearts and minds through advocacy campaigns that educate and engage people about how they can help make things better for kids when systems fail them. And we use our deep knowledge about those systems to turn that engagement into laws and policies that codify and make permanent rules and practices we know lead to the fair and equitable treatment of all children in government care.

Our Impact

2021 Highlights

2021 has been a landmark year for Children’s Rights. It has shown why NOW more than ever children in government systems need us by their side as they face trauma and discrimination instead of receiving care and love: 

We filed a lawsuit in Alabama because the state discriminates against foster children and youth with mental impairments by unnecessarily segregating them in restrictive, psychiatric residential treatment facilities and by denying them the chance to grow up in homes. The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring the State to immediately change its policies and practices to ensure that no child is unnecessarily placed in these draconian facilities.

Lead more »

A court decision in our case in Georgia cleared the final barrier to providing special education services to students being held at the DeKalb County Jail. The judge’s ruling sent a message to students that being in jail is no justification for denying them an education. Education for incarcerated people with disabilities is legally required, and studies have shown that participation in these programs helps decrease recidivism and poverty upon release.

Lead more »

Our settlement agreement in Kansas early in 2021, has already resulted in the development of quality, trauma-informed mental health crisis support services for all youth up to 21 years old.  The state has also developed a structure to guarantee trauma screens to all foster children upon entry into care, a major aspect of reform secured by our litigation. 

Learn more »

A judge in Maine ruled that our case there may proceed to make sure that children who come into foster care in need of therapeutic counseling and mental health services are not administered powerful psychotropic medications without adequate safeguards in place.

Learn more »

Our unrelenting advocacy for Milwaukee’s children resulted in sweeping improvements, including increased child safety, the implementation of trauma-informed systems, safer communities and empowered and uplifted families. In the September 2021 hearing to officially release the state from federal oversight, the federal judge overseeing the case tearfully called our work with the state of Wisconsin, “a celebration of what human beings can do when they try, and when they work together.”

Learn more »

In New Hampshire, older youth with mental health illnesses are being unnecessarily housed in institutions and other group facilities and churned through the state’s foster care system at an alarming rate. We filed a lawsuit calling for structural changes to prioritize the health and wellbeing of youth living with mental health conditions in the state’s care.

Learn more »

A scathing report has shown how the foster care system in Texas has betrayed children, resulting in hundreds of kids with no family to live with sleeping on conference room floors or the back of a car. It drives home the vital role our lawsuit is playing in uncovering abuses like this and making sure the state stops harming kids and once and for all fixes its broken system.

Lead more »

2021 Highlights

2021 has been a landmark year for Children’s Rights. It has shown why NOW more than ever children in government systems need us by their side as they face trauma and discrimination instead of receiving care and love: 

We filed a lawsuit in Alabama because the state discriminates against foster children and youth with mental impairments by unnecessarily segregating them in restrictive, psychiatric residential treatment facilities and by denying them the chance to grow up in homes. The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring the State to immediately change its policies and practices to ensure that no child is unnecessarily placed in these draconian facilities.

Lead more »

A court decision in our case in Georgia cleared the final barrier to providing special education services to students being held at the DeKalb County Jail. The judge’s ruling sent a message to students that being in jail is no justification for denying them an education. Education for incarcerated people with disabilities is legally required, and studies have shown that participation in these programs helps decrease recidivism and poverty upon release.

Lead more »

Our settlement agreement in Kansas early in 2021, has already resulted in the development of quality, trauma-informed mental health crisis support services for all youth up to 21 years old. The state has also developed a structure to guarantee trauma screens to all foster children upon entry into care, a major aspect of reform secured by our litigation. 

Learn more »

A judge in Maine ruled that our case there may proceed to make sure that children who come into foster care in need of therapeutic counseling and mental health services are not administered powerful psychotropic medications without adequate safeguards in place.

Learn more »

Our unrelenting advocacy for Milwaukee’s children resulted in sweeping improvements, including increased child safety, the implementation of trauma-informed systems, safer communities and empowered and uplifted families. In the September 2021 hearing to officially release the state from federal oversight, the federal judge overseeing the case tearfully called our work with the state of Wisconsin, “a celebration of what human beings can do when they try, and when they work together.”

Learn more »

In New Hampshire, older youth with mental health illnesses are being unnecessarily housed in institutions and other group facilities and churned through the state’s foster care system at an alarming rate. We filed a lawsuit calling for structural changes to prioritize the health and wellbeing of youth living with mental health conditions in the state’s care.

Learn more »

A scathing report has shown how the foster care system in Texas has betrayed children, resulting in hundreds of kids with no family to live with sleeping on conference room floors or the back of a car. It drives home the vital role our lawsuit is playing in uncovering abuses like this and making sure the state stops harming kids and once and for all fixes its broken system.

Lead more »

Advocating for kids outside the courtroom​

Dismantling Institutional Racism at the Front End of the Child Welfare System

Institutional racism in child welfare is an urgent civil rights issue that must be addressed. Our newest report describes how racist structures contribute to the disproportionate involvement of Black children and families in child welfare systems and outlines strategies to address and the unnecessary surveillance, investigation, and separation of Black families.

Lead more »

Exposing the Amplified Dangers and Discrimination Faced by LGBTQ+ kids

At the height of the pandemic Children’s Rights issued a report examining the shockingly amplified stress and anxiety LGBTQ+ youth in the child welfare system are living with due to discrimination and rejection – and calling for action to bring them the resources they need to be healthy and safe.

Lead more »

Ending Institutionalization of Children

Our campaign to end the placement of children in group homes and institutions instead of family homes raised awareness for why this practice must stop. It describes the toxic stress these children endure, which alters their brain development, leads to involvement in the criminal legal system, creates many negative mental and physical health consequences, and dramatically reduces life expectancy.

Learn more »

Advocating for kids outside the courtroom​

Dismantling Institutional Racism at the Front End of the Child Welfare System

Institutional racism in child welfare is an urgent civil rights issue that must be addressed. Our newest report describes how racist structures contribute to the disproportionate involvement of Black children and families in child welfare systems and outlines strategies to address and the unnecessary surveillance, investigation, and separation of Black families.

Lead more »

Exposing the Amplified Dangers and Discrimination Faced by LGBTQ+ kids

At the height of the pandemic Children’s Rights issued a report examining the shockingly amplified stress and anxiety LGBTQ+ youth in the child welfare system are living with due to discrimination and rejection – and calling for action to bring them the resources they need to be healthy and safe.

Lead more »

Ending Institutionalization of Children

Our campaign to end the placement of children in group homes and institutions instead of family homes raised awareness for why this practice must stop. It describes the toxic stress these children endure, which alters their brain development, leads to involvement in the criminal legal system, creates many negative mental and physical health consequences, and dramatically reduces life expectancy.

Learn more »

Our job is to protect thousands of children over time and over generations.

Our job is to protect thousands of children over time and over generations.

We’ve affected broad systemic changes, positively impacting the lives of 1.6 million children — putting protections in place for generations to come. With your support, we can help millions more.

Be a champion for children today.

We’ve affected broad systemic changes, positively impacting the lives of 1.6 million children — putting protections in place for generations to come. With your support, we can help millions more.

Be a champion for children today.

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