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MI Dwayne B. v. Snyder


Children’s Rights, along with co-counsel Ned Leibensperger, Kevin Bolan and McDermott Will & Emery LLC, filed this case against the Governor of the state of Michigan and the Director of the Department of Human Services (DHS) on behalf of all children who are now or will be in the foster care custody of DHS. The alleged certain unlawful policies and practices of the defendants, including the maltreatment or neglect of children while in state foster care custody, a lack of basic medical and mental health services for children in foster care, excessive lengths of stay in state custody, and frequent moves among multiple placements. The parties settled the case in 2008 and the court approved the first Modified Settlement Agreement and Consent Order (MSA) in 2011. In 2015, the parties reached a second modified settlement agreement that acknowledges progress in reforming Michigan foster care and focuses attention on improving critical areas to assure child safety and well-being. Reform implementation and ongoing monitoring efforts by Children’s Rights and the court-appointed monitor have succeeded in bringing about substantial reforms in Michigan:

However, a Monitoring Report released in September 2014 by Public Catalyst, the court-appointed monitor, flags a number of outstanding areas of inadequate performance:

The defendants will exit monitoring once they have met all the performance requirements of the settlement agreement and held that performance for 18 months. Until that time, Children’s Rights will continue to monitor and analyze performance data, contact key stakeholders, meet with agency officials and the monitor, and attend status conferences before the Court, as we work to hold Michigan accountable to its promise to improve the child welfare system.

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