FL H.G. v. Carroll


An extreme shortage of foster homes in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties leaves children adrift and at risk of harm as they bounce between numerous families, group homes and institutions while their mental health needs go unmet.

International law firm Baker McKenzie and national non-profit organization Children’s Rights filed H.G. v. Carroll on behalf of the approximately 2,000 children in foster care, as well as all those who will enter foster care, whose cases originate in the “Southern Region.” The lawsuit names as a defendant Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Mike Carroll, and charges that the state has long failed to address this known shortage of foster homes—with dangerous results.


U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee Divison
February 20, 2018
Focus Areas
Child Health, Families Together, Government Accountability

According to the complaint, of the children who spent time in Miami-Dade and Monroe County foster care between January 2016 and June 2017, over 400 kids had 10 or more total placements; at least 185 kids lived in 20 or more places; more than 50 children lived at least 50 places; and 27 children were bounced around between 80 and 140 placements during their total time in state care. Extreme instability causes emotional and psychological harm and affects brain development.

The complaint also asserts that since 2013, at any given time there have been at least 30 children under the age of 6 who are housed in emergency shelters and group homes, receiving care from shift workers—an inappropriate practice that runs counter to widely accepted standards. Some older children live in locked psychiatric facilities without clinical need because DCF has nowhere else to put them. Others are housed “night to night”—kept in an agency office until late, then left to sleep wherever a bed exists, only to repeat the same cycle the next day.

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