GA Kenny A. v. Deal


Children’s Rights, along with co-counsel Bondurant Mixson & Elmore LLP in Atlanta, filed this case against the governor of Georgia and state and county officials on behalf of a class of all children in Fulton and DeKalb County foster care (metropolitan Atlanta), and a class of African-American children in foster care, alleging violations of their federal and state rights to adequate protection and services while in state custody. The alleged unlawful policies and practices of the Defendants, including: burdening caseworkers with dangerously high caseloads that prevented workers from visiting children and compromised safety oversight; placing children in deplorable emergency shelters and other unsafe facilities and homes; shuffling children in foster care among many placements; and denying basic health care. The Complaint also included claims against county officials for violating children’s right to counsel in all juvenile court proceedings — attorneys assigned to children had caseloads of up to 500 children per attorney, making adequate and zealous representation impossible.


Senior U.S. District Judge Marvin H. Shoob, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia
June 6, 2002
Focus Areas
Child Health, Government Accountability, Youth Justice


Thanks to the state Consent Decree, and the efforts of Children’s Rights and the court-appointed monitors, we have has succeeded in bringing about substantial reforms in Georgia. According to the most recent monitoring report:

However, the most recent report flags a number of areas of inadequate performance:

Defendants will exit monitoring once they have complied with the required improvements in the Consent Decree and have held that performance for three consecutive six-month reporting periods.


As a result of the right-to-counsel consent decrees with DeKalb Counties, spurred by a landmark decision by the federal court recognizing children’s due process right to counsel, the counties have transformed their delivery of legal representation for children:

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