FEDERAL - Flores v Reno
On September 14, 2021 Leecia Welch joined Children’s Rights as a new Lead Counsel. Welch brings extensive legal experience in the child welfare field, including 16 years at the National Center for Youth Law, where she was the Senior Director of Child Welfare and Legal Advocacy specializing in child welfare, mental health, immigration, and education issues. Welch is co-counsel in the seminal Flores v. Reno case.
The Flores case was filed in 1985 to address the serious mistreatment of immigrant children in federal custody. The case settled in 1997 and remains under the supervision of federal court judge Dolly Gee in the Central District of California. The Flores settlement agreement set national standards for the treatment, placement, and release of all immigrant children detained in the custody of the federal government. Under the settlement agreement (with limited exceptions), children must be promptly released to appropriate sponsors, and children who remain in federal custody must be placed in the least restrictive environment in non-secure facilities that are licensed to care for dependent children.