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Class Actions

Wisconsin

WI - Jeanine B. v. Walker

At the time the complaint was filed, there were 15 named plaintiffs, including Jeanine B., Danny C., and Frank M.

Jeanine B., a 12-year-old girl at the time of filing, drifted for more than six years between six different foster homes. In one home  where she lived with 11 other children, she was struck by her foster father with a plastic container with enough force to necessitate stitches.

Danny C. and Frank M., brothers ages 7 and 4, were cycled through four different homes in less than a year before being placed back in the original foster home from which they had been unnecessarily removed.  Danny, who is developmentally delayed, did not attend school for nearly an entire year because defendants failed to provide the necessary information to have him enrolled.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
STATUS: Successful Closed
FILED: June 1, 1993; Supplemental Complaint, June 2, 1999
SETTLEMENT REACHED: December 2, 2002
CASE CLOSED: September 29, 2021

Children’s Rights, along with co-counsel the American Civil Liberties Foundation of Wisconsin, Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty & Bennett, P.A., and Dorsey & Whitney LLP, prosecuted this case against the Governor of Wisconsin on behalf of all Milwaukee children in child welfare custody. The Complaint and Supplemental Complaint alleged violations of children’s constitutional and federal statutory rights. The parties settled the case in 2002.

In September 2021, a federal court ordered that the agency may exit federal court oversight of a settlement agreement that resulted in major systems change and tangible results for children and families. In the time since the settlement agreement, DCF has worked to meet the agreement’s 19 performance measures, leading to sweeping improvements that mean children have become increasingly safe in government care and have a better chance at a permanent home.